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The Other Half of the Story

We left out a key question on our recent planner-stress survey. You might want to answer it now.

To anchor the MeetingsNet magzine’s May/June cover story on meeting planners’ workplace stress, we asked readers to complete a survey about the level of stress they’ve experienced from various factors (low staffing, virtual meetings, job insecurity, remote work, and so on). We also asked how often they’re frustrated at work and whether they’ve considered leaving their jobs as a result.

The data we gathered is rather remarkable. Here’s one astounding statistic: 42 percent of the 175 planners who answered the survey seriously considered leaving the meeting planning profession altogether because of workplace stress during the pandemic. Another 14 percent, who do want to remain planners, have seriously considered finding a job with another company.

That’s a lot of stress and a lot of dissatisfaction. I don’t want to step on Rob Carey’s reporting; you can read the rest of our survey results and his planner interviews here.

It’s a fascinating story and one that many that can relate to, but I must admit to having one regret with our survey questions: We didn’t ask readers about any positive outcomes from the pandemic’s stress and disruption.

For instance, did the burden of more responsibility show off your strong organizational skills? Did the strain of producing virtual meetings open up a new career path? Has the anxiety of the unknown led to enhanced relationships or a greater sense of personal resiliency?

Mundane stresses don’t tend to prompt major changes in organizations or people—but the relentless stresses of the last two years certainly have. And those changes can be both good and bad.

Indeed, the  report’s interviews with planners touch on themes such as resiliency and connections. One example: Northeastern University’s Adrianne Denenberg explains how a small group of planners from various schools began meeting virtually after Covid hit in order to encourage and support one another.

Nonetheless, if we had included survey questions about positive effects that came from the pandemic ordeal in terms of skills, relationships, or personal strength, that would have been helpful. Such silver-lining stats could have painted a statistically richer picture of how pandemic stress has impacted meeting planners and shown a bit more clearly where we stand today.

In that case, let’s ask the question now: Has there been a positive outcome for you from the stress of the pandemic? I’d love to hear about it.

On a related topic, if you know someone who deserves to be recognized for efforts over the past year, someone who is making positive change for his or her organization or our industry, take a minute to write up a nomination for MeetingsNet’s 2022 Changemaker awards. Nominations are open through June 13. Learn more here.

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