Friday, April 06, 2012

The Executive Lounge

Traveled for work last week to Rochester, MN. Spent the weekend in Waveland doing some cleaning. Back in Waveland tonight for the start of Easter festivities. Melissa is traveling next week to Chicago for work training. Busy few weeks in the Dickey house.

This past work-travel was a little different than the usual in that it was a bunch of my co-workers getting together for training. More than two of us together in one place for any length of time is far from the norm. I imagine anyone eavesdropping on our conversations was entertained. We swapped travel/customer horror stories. Everyone bragged about what level of frequent flier status they had obtained. And we all tried to outdo each other by mentioning what fancy hotel perk we had been able to make use of. The hotel we all stayed in had an Executive Lounge on the top floor that only a few people had access to (they snuck the rest of us in). Our evenings were spent enjoying the free drinks, so much so that we drank them out of Crown Black. Good times.

One thing that didn't really occur to me before I started working from home was the lack of co-workers. Working in an office, I just got used to seeing people in the hall, going out to lunch, or just hanging out in their office to pass the time on slow days. None of that happens when you work from home. Sure I've tried to fill the void by going to lunch with friends regularly, even going so far as to find some other IBMers in town to lunch with, but it's not the same. Emails and instant messages and conference calls don't quite cut it either. Not only do I think I'm worse off socially, I also think the company is worse off due to the lack of information sharing that naturally would occur. With more and more people working from home, I'm thinking this is big challenge going forward. Curious to see what people come up with.

Interesting fun fact about hanging out with my co-workers in Rochester, I was the only white guy. One guy escaped from Vietnam. Another left Korea when he was a kid. The other two were Chinese and I'm unsure when they moved or if they are second generation. That's another thing I miss about hanging out with co-workers, the varied cultural backgrounds. I love being exposed to different ways of thinking and that's harder to find among friends. Our friends, generally, think similarly to the way we do, hence being friends, but co-workers are under no such restrictions. Of course, this can be horrible at times, but handled well I think it can be fascinating.

Maybe I should start some sort of work-at-home lunch club.


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Jessamyn said...

I do think work colleagues are important. It's my main interaction. You spend hours with these people every day - those are important bonds. I think it's good that you reach out to other IBM people in New Orleans. It's a conduit to the corporate culture. But at least you have a rich social life to compensate for your lack of work people.


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