I love when business and professional people ask if we have checked something. This can be everything from a math problem, bank deposit or even luggage. Indeed, maintain harmony in the universe and be sure you are a part of the balance. I guess someone forgot to mention that includes life too.
Somewhere down the line, all of us have either seen or been the wearing party of the restroom toilet paper, either attached to a shoe (the most painless) or on our clothing (snap). This scene is humiliating by itself, but always gets a laugh followed by, Didn’t they notice? Didn’t they check? In addition, it insures we will quickly do a balancing act to hide, or remove the tell tail of evidence, all with a flush of color to the face. Most of the time when this happens there is a laugh factor, maybe because there is more than just one of us in the room.
The new world order of normal finds a large majority of us working from home, behind laptops and flat screens, in the silent break rooms of our house, where the only dry cleaning needed, is using a towel to wipe off counter space after our PB&J lunch. In many ways, these cubicles in the clouds are a win for all sides, and have untold value in productivity and availability. The downside however, is in the balance of who we are to the faceless society we work with daily.
I have written on the trolls and cyber bullies that make it a mission in life to attack names on a screen, knowing they can get away with rude and hurtful comments, for no other reason than they can. However, in the work environment we are seeing develop from the ashes of mother boards, transistors and diodes needing an OHM meter, there is more than just troll behavior, which left unchecked disturbs the balance of the business and emotional system.
As children when we passed the Do you like me mark yes or no notes in class or recess, we hoped to get a check back, that insured we were accepted, and the anticipation was intense. Now, as adults, we do it in real time, as well as in video feedback on Skype, and it is just as fearful and satisfying as the playground, we know where we stand. That is if the system and those in it are balanced.
What is becoming lost in the world of telecommutes and video boardrooms, is the human touch, that do you like me feeling, which is found in a shared story or laugh, a mutual selection at the vending machine, or yes even leaving the restroom, hoping there is no paper trail proving we had been there. So when the only voice you share with your fellow staff and employees is in an email, Skype or instant message, take a moment and check what you are saying – or what you are not saying. Tone and silence are very close cousins in the cyber world.
Put yourself in the picture of another person’s daily silence, with only an occasional text or email contact that validates you as a person, as well as what you are able to offer, either in friendship or employment. Look at the balance of the day, have you checked in with an affirmative or pleasant effort? Have you ignored those screen names – invisible faces around you, assuming they are fine, and will reach out if they need you? Sometimes those with the greatest need do not reach out, because they already fear they are not accepted or wanted.
Success in this new computer commute will only come when there is a sincere effort to reach into the silence, and include one another as if they were in an office down the hall, or on another floor. If this is lost, in either the business or personal relationship, in time it will lose complete balance in a new silent temple of Babel, and history will repeat itself.
Working from home or communicating via text and Skype, are wonderful conveniences in life, that should free up time and give us more freedom – however, the ability to ignore, assume and be rude should not be a part of that personal freedom, and need to be consistently checked, as we balance our day. Just because you are not in the same room with someone doesn’t mean your silence or attitude aren’t.
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