Is it unprofessional for your pet to interrupt a video call?
Managers who don't like pets will always have a problem with yours
Virtual meetings, especially during social isolation, have become an interesting place to find out people’s pet peeves. But what happens when that pet peeve is a natural part of one person’s life? Read below for two examples when this happened.
A few months back, I attended regular virtual meetings with 20 or so volunteers—one of whom included a married couple. In every single meeting, this couple would croon “I love you” and once even blew a kissy face at the other. I had to actively control my eyes from rolling. They weren’t the only married people in our group. They were just the only couple on the call; the rest of the participants were attending this meeting on a solo basis or as singles.
In every meeting, the same married couple would find some kind of way to mention their married life or remind us they were husband and wife—as though it was breaking news. It would’ve made so much more sense to me if one was working overseas or in another state. Instead, they were just sitting in two different rooms—in the same house. To each his own.
Interestingly, in these same meetings, I would randomly see a pet stroll by in a few members’ homes. That didn’t bother me. Then again, I like pets more than I like public displays of affection (PDA). However, I noticed whenever our group got on the topic of pets or I brought up my love for dogs, one-half of the PDA couple would interrupt me and want to talk about anything else. Not once. Not twice. Multiple times.
Clearly, the PDA husband was not a pet person. And that’s his right. However, this can become complicated when the virtual meetup is employment-related instead of voluntary work. In a recent Reddit discussion, an employee explained that a manager felt it was “unprofessional” to allow a pet cat to join the virtual call. (The cat jumped on the employee’s lap and was visible on the computer screen.) I was a little stunned by the overly opinionated response to the cat sighting. Still, everybody has their likes and their gripes. But is it fair to project your own dislikes—be it PDA or pets—onto someone else when they’re really causing no harm?