Let’s talk about how Zoom is evil, or, The Seventh Circle of Hell

Camera-On Zoom Meetings for Work – Whose Stupid Idea Was That?

This is my robe but that is not I wearing it. Also, I did not get the matching slippers. I didn’t even know they existed but now I have but one mission in my life and that is to get these slippers.

The good news is I got a job.

Now that I have acknowledged that this is good news, I need to complain about said job.

I have never met any of my co-workers in person.

All my interviews were on zoom. Camera on.

And now all the work – the meetings – are on zoom. Camera. On.

Which I suppose I might not mind so much if I were photogenic and young and gorgeous, but Lord have mercy the camera on my computer has a way of highlighting things I would prefer not to highlight.

But – that is the reality of being lucky enough to be alive and I am trying to heed Laura Lippman’s admonition that WE MUST LOVE OURSELVES, so I am going to complain about things about zoom that are not about aging and not about not being photogenic.

To wit:

The entire advantage of working from home, or at least the advantage I have always treasured, is that I did not have to be presentable.

Zoom requires that I be presentable and I don’t even know what world those Zoom people were living in when they designed this awful thing

I worked from home a lot with my old job and we did not do cameras on. I was working with engineers and we were always going through some kind of meeting agenda or doing a formal product development review where we needed to be on the same (literally) page. We shared documents, not images of ourselves. Plus engineers and eye contact is not exactly a thing.

But this job. Oy.

My boss is new to the company. I am new to the company. Nobody has met and I understand philosophically why cameras on is a good idea, but what that translates to in real life for me is I now have to wash my hair more than once a week.

Which might not seem unreasonable to you but I have not been to a salon since January 2020. I have not had my hair colored since then and now I know what color it really is, which is a decent color I suppose but it is boring. And I have been cutting my hair myself and that has gone about as well as you might imagine.

I guess we’re all in that boat. Almost all the women I have met at work have long-ish hair. Nobody has had a haircut.

But I think they have better supplies than I have.

That is, although we still buy things, we are not buying unnecessary things. And we are not making unnecessary trips to the store. And we have decided we might as well use inventory.

Which means I am using the Bad Shampoo.

That’s the shampoo I bought years ago and tried and I didn’t like it but I also was not going to throw perfectly good (well, not good but functional) shampoo in the trash so I put it upstairs in the guest bathroom so my houseguests –


Thinking this through, it’s not really the most hospitable thing to do, is it?

To ask my family and friends to use crummy shampoo just because they didn’t bring any?

Although in my defense, I thought it was Good Shampoo when I bought it.

Anyhow, I ran out of the Good Shampoo last year and decided I might as well use the shampoo in the house because who cares how I look anyhow?

And then I got a job.

And then I had to have the camera on.

And then I thought crap this means I have to wash my hair more than once a week.

And all I have is the Bad Shampoo.

Plus – it’s cold in our house so I wear my fluffy robe of leopardo over my gym clothes or PJs and that’s not really an option if you are on camera.

Now I am forced to shower more frequently than once a week.

I am trying to figure out The Shampoo Situation.

And makeup! I put on some makeup and I didn’t even recognize myself. Do people even wear makeup anymore? Is that still a thing? Because I am Done.

And I have to wear clothes that make me look like I have put a little bit of thought into what I am wearing, which, in the past year, has been at the very bottom of my list. I don’t care about clothes anymore. Does anyone? I don’t care about any of this anymore. Do you?

9 thoughts on “Let’s talk about how Zoom is evil, or, The Seventh Circle of Hell

  1. Cutting your hair was a tactical error. I’m embracing the ponytail and I may never go back. As for makeup, well, thank goodness for the mask in public. I’ve so enjoyed not being endlessly sick this year with every type of respiratory crud going around, I may keep the mask forever, too. Too bad I can’t wear that during Zoom meetings.

    My best Zoom tips are (1) elevate your laptop so the camera isn’t pointing right up your nose and highlighting your jawline and (2) turn on the setting to smooth your skin. I’ve got that one turned allllllll the way up.


  2. Come on, Goldie. You’ve answered your own question. Now, somebody DOES care what you look like – you – so it’ss time to put the formerly-good-but-now-good-enough-for guests-who-forgot-to-bring-any-shampoo back in the guest bathroom and get some really good shampoo on your next shopping trip. Maybe, also some Clairol DIY hair color – even if it’s only to make yourself feel better. (Great robe, tho. You get full points for that!)

    A good friend of ours started a new job two weeks ago also via zoom. He was fortunate to already know a couple of people on his new staff, but says it’s totally weird to be getting “settled” in a new job without having met face-to-face with anyone. Am sure that by now you have worked it out, and are getting more comfortable. This, too, shall pass.


  3. I put on makeup once this year – Valentine’s Day. My husband didn’t notice. I am writing this in my robe, and very grateful not to be on camera.


  4. Crystal is right. If you haven’t already, go into settings and crank up the “touch up my appearance” setting. FYI, you can also go into Filters and Studio Effects-Beta and set lip color and enhance eyebrows. Just don’t put on the cat filter like the lawyer in Texas. I am lucky to be working in the same job I was in the before times, and my coworkers don’t care what I look like, but I am with you–down to the crummy shampoo, only one haircut since January 2020, can’t even remember the last time I wore makeup. But who cares about all that–the important thing is congratulations on the new job! They are lucky to have you.


  5. The only person that really cares about your appearance is you. You got the job – that was based on your CV and your answers during interview, not what you looked like (which wouldn’t have been nearly as ‘groomed’ as you would have presented yourself pre-pandemic anyway). So forget about it. Rock up with no makeup and scruffy hair. Are they going to sack you for that? Unlikely. Why does it matter if your co-workers think you’re ‘attractive’ (which is what a lot of the beautifying comes down to – that, and competing with other women bc we are stupid and judge each other)…it doesn’t. Like most people, this year I’ve stopped bothering with makeup etc, some meetings are on camera and some aren’t, and they are almost entirely with males. Noone has commented – if they did I would give them hell: they look like shit too.


    1. I guess I am worried about age discrimination, but yeah you’re right – I have the job and I just need to do it well now.

      What’s weird to me is how many people are still doing the hair and makeup thing. I think one of my new missions will be to normalize what women look like – that is, this is a face without makeup.


  6. The average age at my company is 32. At 32 even bad looking people look good. When I was 32 I looked good. Do I wear makeup and do the coiffure? You betcha – got lighting going, and Zoom filters. I can’t afford (literally) not to fit in. Maybe when I am richer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s