No Techie is an Island
This week’s CertMag poll question asks how you prefer to speak with our coworkers. E-mail, surprise, surprise in the techie world, won out as the favored method of communication. Okay, people. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, but I make a concentrated effort to get up and away from my desk, even if it’s only a few steps down the hall, to enjoy a little face-to-face contact with my colleagues. I do this not just because it soothes those paranoid feelings that my can is starting to take the shape of my chair or because it will give my eyes a break. I make the effort because it establishes a connection, and not just between coworkers.
Getting up and out of your cubicle or office reestablishes your connection to the company at large. I was a bit shocked to see that some 20 percent of you would just as soon not talk to other employees. This is a dangerous attitude and links to why it’s important to have a connection with your coworkers as well as your company. Reading this you may be grumbling that, “I didn’t get into computers to have Danish with the office drips and gossip around the water cooler. I wanna program!” Or network administrate or be the best help-desk person ever. But without that connection to your coworkers, without that connection with the other departments of your company, you’re missing vital information. You are effectively out of the loop, and that’s a dangerous place to be. Who will be the first one eliminated when the company downsizes – the soldier who remains invisible but steadily cranks out work or the all around-er who can crank out the work, understand the functions of the other departments and demonstrates that those functions effectively integrate with their work to create the most effective technology solutions for the organization? If one of two IT pros with the same job title must be eliminated, who will get the axe – the IT pro who no one knows, who snaps and is surly when someone dares call his office line? Or the IT pro who is known in the office by name and makes an effort to be pleasant and forge that connection, however brief, as he or she goes about a normal day?
Notice I didn’t say which of the IT pros is the nicest. That’s not the point. Professionalism (in an ideal office world) should rule out something as subjective as nice. The point is, no man, even one who works for himself, can work in a silo. Check out my next career development community feature, tentatively titled, “Understanding Non-Technical Business Functions.” I’ll explain further what I mean.