Working Hard or Hardly Working

One of my coworkers made a statement last week that disturbed me. They opined that there should be no personal talk whatsoever at work and any such should not count toward the eight-hour-per-day minimum. Said coworker further recommended, if someone at work asked about one’s weekend, always responding with “fine” to discourage any followup jibber-jabber. I quite disagree with all that.

Admittedly I was raised in a polite society and in a family of origin where any misstep was severely punished. I would not be surprised if I am more sensitive to interpersonal niceties than the average bloke. (I think there is evidence that I am more sensitive in general.) However, I still hazard that most people would consider someone whose only words to them were to request some service to be at least a cold fish if not something of a dick.

I believe that all good teams have a personal connection between their members. I have no titular authority so my ability to influence others is entirely dependent on the strength of our connection. Of course, doing nothing but prattling and gossiping all day serves neither the team nor the task at hand. My experience shows that, within the context of any given endeavor, the strategic goals are accomplished better and quicker with a good rapport built with the tactical application of personal interaction.

One of my basic tenets is that everyone is a person who deserves to be heard. Life is short and too often ends with little warning. I take professional pride in doing a good job. But I would rather be remembered for how much I cared than how much I worked.

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