Virtual vs. In-Person
Once upon a time, I held public office, and if you strip away all the other nonsense that comes with that position, being an elected official really only means you are a glorified decision maker. I did my utmost to make the most sound, informed decisions possible, and I felt like I did okay with it, or at least I do not carry any regrets. Yet, during my time in office I have never felt as much consternation as I have been experiencing this past year. A recent visitor to the Chamber office told me I was suffering from “Decision Fatigue.” I like that term.
One would be in a fog if not to notice the anxiousness people are demonstrating over the ongoing restrictions of personal freedoms from fighting COVID. With increasing frequency, our members are calling to get back together for in-person meetings. These are the types of dilemmas of which all companies, organizations, churches, groups, etc. are grappling with on a regular basis. Yet, as we engage in the process of making decisions about when and how to go about this, there is clearly no consensus on anything. This has been a consistent theme throughout the pandemic. No matter how trivial the issue or the number of people involved, the room remains clearly divided. I mean, my own household of two cannot see eye-to-eye. Compounding this decision-making conundrum is the utter lack of consistent information and policy from top to bottom. This leaves one without the ability to make informed decisions. Herein lies the crux of the problem, the lack of quantifiable, qualifiable, and experiential information from which to draw, leaves us to be influenced only by opinion and conjecture.
For better or worse, we forge on, and therefore the Chamber has decided its first in-person event this year will be the Networking Breakfast on Tuesday, June 22, 8:30 a.m. at Trustmark Bank. We had hoped to shoot for an event in May, but the debate over safety protocols is still too scattered. Therefore, we are deferring a month and masks at that time will be optional. I know this will deter some, yet be attractive to others, but until there is a generally accepted opinion that COVID is no longer a threat, we find ourselves in this Catch-22 situation.
As gatherings return to in-person, it is safe to say, some will remain virtual. We have had good success with the virtual platform in our goal of reaching a broader cross section of the community. With the ease and low cost of the virtual set-up, we believe we can accommodate both mediums effectively.
In closing, I implore everyone to remain patient and tolerant as we phase out of the pandemic. It has been a long 14 months for all of us, and we all have decision fatigue. But before you know it, this will be just another entry in Wikipedia.