Why I Miss Interacting with Humans in Person

It’s August 2020, I’ve been working from home, haven’t been to any in person events or done any in real life comedy gigs for 5 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. I am extremely grateful and privileged to have a job at this time, in fact I’ve started two roles in this pandemic, so do get in touch if you need any tips on that.

Hannah performing at improv comedy show No Ball Prizes. Photo by Steve Cross

It’s a very different experience to what pre-coronavirus pandemic Hannah experienced. Here’s a snapshot of one of my most memorable 24 hours of 2019.

It was the 21st March, I spent the day in London at the Genomics England Discovery Forum meeting. I was on a panel, alongside some experienced folk and chaired by Dame Sue Hill. We chatted about ‘Strategic multi-stakeholder discussion on how to develop precision cancer diagnostics and therapies’.

As the day came to a close, I wandered down the road to a Kings Cross pub where I did some improv comedy dressed as a monkey. It was part of the No Balls Prizes, a science communication improvisation comedy night run by Steve Cross. I am a big fan of performing in it because I get to use my brain in different and silly ways. You can read about what doing live comedy has taught me here.

I stayed in London because the next day, I had a breakfast meeting at The Ritz which was hosted by a Lord. I remember feeling very silly sitting at the table with my monkey costume stuffed into my smart bag.

On the train back to Cambridge, I remember being very smug thinking about how great my life was. I’d met 10’s of new humans, learnt many things and had my perspective tested by a variety of people. I’d got to let off some steam lunging around on stage. I was very happy.

When the pandemic hit, I was starting a new role. My first day was the day everyone got told firmly to work from home.

At first, I thought I might have been born to work from home full time. It was glorious. I was happy and having a great time. 5 months later, I’m a bit less of a fan. I lack energy and motivation.

Perhaps I’m in the disillusionment portion of the phases of disaster, which is full of emotional low and trigger events. This is the part where we are all getting used to the new normal.

Perhaps I am also missing feeling a tiny bit important from being invited to those types of events I spoke of above.

However, I am very much a people person. I work in a people focused way. I thrive off connecting with a variety of people. I believe in person events with a variety of people help me to learn and learn faster. They are much more stimulating for me that video calls.

So, I am very much missing the types of interaction we had before the pandemic. Of course, as a scientist, I fully understand and stand behind the social distancing measures in place.

But, I miss meeting many many people in one day. Working collaboratively with teams. I really miss massive whiteboards!

Hopefully soon, we’ll be back regularly mixing with other humans soon. For now I’ll have to make do with my online whiteboard and multiple video calls a day.

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I believe that everyone should have the opportunities to achieve their real potential, so that, together we can change the world. I get stuff done in startups.

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Hannah Thompson

Hannah Thompson

I believe that everyone should have the opportunities to achieve their real potential, so that, together we can change the world. I get stuff done in startups.

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