Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working from home

The beauty of having a work from home job is that you never actually have to deal with people face-to-face.  In fact, it is rare that I even have to speak with them on the phone.  I like this arrangement very much as I am more of a shy, introverted person and not so good with the spoken words.  Writing, however, is a cinch.  That's why I'm a pro at interpersonal relations when it comes to emails.

Something else that I really appreciate about not having any clue who my coworkers are, however, is that I get the feeling that I am one of the younger employees.  As an editor, I am in a position of power and responsibility over the typists.  If they need to be patted on the back, I do that.  If they need to be dressed down, I try to fob it off on someone else and if I can't, then I do it.  I'm comfortable doing what needs to be done and giving criticism because there is an anonymity to it all.

If, for example, I knew a specific person personally in real life, I might be more hesitant about telling them what I really think.  Or let's say that I know that my typist is older than me, especially if it is quite a gap - I wouldn't feel so comfortable giving them the criticism that they need to hear and internalize in order to improve their work.

I guess that a large part of this is due to my upbringing - you must respect your elders.  I'm not talking about unconditional respect, like if you see someone committing murder it doesn't matter who they are - obviously they are no longer someone you should respect.  But respecting your elders is more generally realizing that people older than you have experiences and knowledge that are valuable and that they can share with you.  You should respect everyone, but those older than you get a little extra.  You can't talk down to them.

So for me, who feels very young despite having just marked off another year, to be having to pass along less than positive comments to people who are potentially my 'elders' can be a little bit uncomfortable.  This is why I very carefully do not ask personal questions about age or where people are in life.  My curious side would very much like to know, but the side of me that just wants to do what needs to be done and doesn't want to feel bad about it runs away.

Does any of this make sense?  I'm scared to find out if the people below me in the company are older than me because then I might have to respect them more and then I'd be afraid to criticize them.

And this is why I love the anonymity of the internet.

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