Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Comfortable with Strangers – Part II

On the professional side things are no different.

Not long ago, there was a time when people actually met each other in an official setting and got to know each other as a person. People were warm in their reception extended to the new entrant in the office.

A number of people if not all in the department, including the dept head would actually take time out and talk to the new member. They would take them out for lunch, take them on the tour of the office, get them introduced to the people around, and all in all give them a decent chance and time to settle in.

But in today’s day and age the very thought of something like this happening is absurd. With the environment of Hire and Fire, relocations, work at homes, consultants and many many other modern concepts, it is rare for a new person to get the time to get acquainted.

Typically the new person meets the manager, who shows them the designated work area, the Cubicle, settles them down with a word ‘Welcome!’ and then hands them a bunch of documentation to read. By the end of the day the new person has a bunch of meeting invitations on his/ her calendar, from people that he/she has no idea about.

In the meeting itself, the newbie is bombarded about who is who and where they are located, (coz people in the same department are now spread across the world). There have been times that I have spoken to a person on a almost daily basis on the least for a year or so, and have never seen who they are, all I know is what they sound like.

People in big organizations, talk to each other either with emails, or thru some kind of instant messaging. Forget meeting the person, there is a certain reluctance now to even pick up the phone and call someone. There are no more ‘How are yous’ and “How you doings’, all that remains in the name of conversation is ‘Hi, can you send/give/forward to me this&that’

I must confess that though, this kind of working is now something I am totally comfortable with, I still look forward to the 15 mins everyday that I have to STEAL away from my desk and meet my buddies for lunch with my colleagues.

On the other hand I have become friends with people sitting halfway across the world. The daily Hellos and the interaction sometimes extend into conversations about weekend activities, movies, food and drink. There have been moments when you can message this person and talk for 5-10 mins and unload if something is bothering you, without the risk of the person judging you…Hell they don’t even know what you look like

The long distance and the online environment have created something that helps a person work and connect with people in all corners of the world, without having to REALLY connect with them…