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Coping With Poor Conference Connectivity

Day in the Life Series: 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

By Dennis Jones


Boy, had the senior software engineer sounded the alarm about the brewing mutiny on her team, venting her spleen in the process.

For a minute there, she’d been worried. When she’d first been invited to join a cross-functional team meant to discuss and improve “employee engagement” at Krempe, she thought it had been a new CEO’s passive-aggressive way to finally bring simmering tensions in Software Engineering to a full boil. “As if nature won’t take its course eventually,” she had quipped to herself.

So she’d been shocked upon arriving (late as was her tendency) to the kick-off meeting only to hear everyone discussing a much larger disengagement crisis at Krempe.

“Who knew?” she had found herself thinking. Apparently everyone, save this Senior Software Engineer. She’d been much too busy with her own soap-operatic team’s goings-on to consider company culture more broadly.

She did sense an opportunity once the meeting ended. She would accost the Head of P&R and some of the remaining HR consultants before they were able to leave the conference room. She didn’t want the new CEO getting involved in Software Engineering affairs but was far less concerned with the Head of P&R doing so – maybe it would even help. She didn’t foresee this being a long meeting, but when it came down to it, she had a lot to say.

So much to say that she had to scramble out, departing suddenly, when she realized that she’d be late to the annual, all-star Software Engineering conference. Luckily, it was being held only a few highway exits down, so she’d still be able to see much of it, including a panel discussion feature one of her first mentors, who was by now an industry icon.

Since she was late, she breezed through registration. It was only when she got into the crowded conference hall that it hit her. She hadn’t picked up a brochure. She loved the glossies this conference put out. Not just the advertisements, but there was also a lot of good information in those brochures, including helpful factoids like the conference Wi-Fi code.

She’d promised to video conference in some of her team during the best talks. They’d be able to have a vibrant discussion through the chat function. But this would require a rock-solid Wi-Fi connection. She knew intuitively she wouldn’t be able to rely on a 4G connection with notoriously poor conference connectivity. And when she took a look at the thronging crowds, her heart fell.

With no Wi-Fi code, she was out of business. Good bye video conference — her chance to engage her team with real-time stimuli. They’d have to wait for a grainy video, which she could only send after she left the conference.

See what happened next.