Another day, another dollar. Getting back into the office is good for me. Good for my mental health at least. Not so good for my general productivity. It’s an interesting thing being old enough to remember working in an office which required a physical presence every day.
Leaving aside for a moment commuting in general. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend every day just moving back and forth between different boxes with internet connections. With hindsight now it seems ridiculous. I remember having to go my then boss after the first was born with tears in my eyes asking for unpaid leave for the sake of taking care of my newborn and struggling wife because the notion of SSHing into work from home was just unthinkable. And even then, I was providing time logs of connections to prove my hours.
Perhaps I’m fortunate now to have an employer that just “gets it” or maybe the world did change.
But I’m old enough to require a bit of face to face interaction to feel connected to coworkers and colleagues.
Well I’m not entirely sure that’s true either. When I’m on a project team with some guys there’s usually ample time to chat throughout the week before and after the abundance of meetings. The problem really is with the everything else. Or rather the everyone else. Having now been at the company for three and a half years and across many projects there’s a lot of people that I “know”, but there are the sort of people that I’m never going to know well enough to cold call them to catch up or go for a beer.
There’s a sort of beauty in having a few shallow connections in your life. Maybe you know a kid’s name. Maybe a sports team. But it feels like community to me. Otherwise it’s just faces on a screen. And increasingly, as the faces in an organization increase those faces don’t have the camera on and are just replaced with initials (not even clever avatars).
I like catching up with people. I like the idea sex of random encounters and throwing different ideas at new people. I like checking in on people’s careers and poking them to loftier goals.
But you know what. I’m still not sure why I even bother taking my laptop in the office when all I do is talk.