Monday, April 14, 2014

Moving from Aspiring to Striving- People Want You To Bug Them

In month six of my six-month job, I realized that it isn't poor manners to disturb your co-workers at their workplace. It is poor manners not to do so.

In the idealized work environment today, each employee, (sorry, professional) typically spends their day in front of a computer screen and enters appointments into their agenda, works proactively, forming and extending networks with potential customers, experts and other professionals in the same field. People are very important, but the access to people is difficult. Every other person you want to stay in touch with is hidden behind a set of projects, mailing list tabs and probably even reports to a different higher-up. You want to meet them for lunch and you feel that they have ideas you would like to discuss but for some reason... the task they are working on has nothing to do with the one assigned to you, they are totally in with the bosses while you feel you aren't, they don't value your inputs or... whatever. You end up postponing that lunch with them for more than half a year.

Then finally one day the two of you are the only ones in office, one sunny spring day when everybody else has gone on holiday. You go for lunch with them and realize what a moron you have been: They actually have been waiting to talk to you for the same reasons and were just afraid to disturb you with your "business". You two get along fabulously well and actually you feel like working with them. Some more days pass and suddenly you two become like best buddies at the office, and when you need help, they are the first person you think of asking.

We depend on others for everything. Anybody who claims the opposite just hasn't become aware of the fact yet that, without communication, the kitchen would run out of salt so much more often. You can choose to search for a workplace where you get along with everybody right from the word go. I challenge you to find such a workplace. It probably doesn't exist. Instead you should just get up and start bugging the people.

Bug your professor for answers about some topic you haven't understood. Bug your parents about your everyday life. Bug your friends to come over and meet you. They will love it because they are facing those computer screens too and are yearning for real human contact, and the computer is just a means to get there. They are using their computers, phones and "I'm busy"s to tell you that they wish they felt as important and self-assured as they think you seem. In reality they want to talk to somebody and tell them about their day. So do them a favour and go to all those you work and associate with, and bug them till they tell you to stop. Learn the names of their cats and dogs, do all the Dale Carnegie stuff and take genuine interest in them. I think they will follow suit. If you have no idea how to do your work, perhaps they will. And if they don't, then you can at least make friends with them, and that's another person to share your happiness with.

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