Wednesday, February 29, 2012

work etiquette

back when i was looking for a free way to communicate realtime with my friends who were far away during college, instant messaging was the only option. the first program i used was icq. this is where i learned to type by looking at the screen instead of using the hunt and peck technique.

little did i know then but learning to type by memory would be a lifelong skill, but so was balancing multiple instant message windows at the same time. there's many times where i'm on a conference call connected with more than 10 people, while instant messaging with two or three other individuals who may be on the call, or about something completely different.

so today at work we use microsoft office communicator, an instant message program very similar to the old america online's aim service. everyone has a buddy list, with their contacts and every conversation is its own window. the program links with microsoft outlook, and changes your status based on whether or not you are in a meeting or not. if your computer has been idle for so long, then the status will also update for everyone to see.

this has created somewhat of an unspoken etiquette for phone calls. before everyone had instant message, getting someone on the phone was as simple as looking them up in the directory and dialing their number. maybe they answer, maybe they don't. but now things are different.

you can see if someone is in a meeting (which usually means they are on the phone, as 95% of us work from home full time) based on their status. it is very poor etiquette to call someone who's status circle is red [in a meeting], or red with a white line [do not disturb]. if the person's status circle is yellow [away], calling is probably a wasted effort, as their computer has been idle for some time. and you would think that calling people with a green [available] status is a-okay, but that also is somewhat frowned upon.

the unspoken proper way to phone someone is to quickly instant message them, and ask them if they have time to chat. and this is followed up by a phone call. which is where my pet peeve exists.

in the contact list 'most' people type their phone number, i have my phone number in my status message. in order to read the status of anyone, simply mouse over that little note icon. but for some reason almost nobody uses this, and they ask what phone number to call on that initial instant message requesting a phone conversation.

it gets worse. people who i talk to on a re-occurring basis will ask me for my phone number when they im me asking if i'm free to chat. have these people forgotten speed dial?! one step forward two steps back. so much that my manager, whom i speak to on the phone multiple times each day will im me, ask if i'm free to chat, and then give me his number. of course, i have him as my #1 speed dial since i call him more than any other coworker.

i end up copying my status, and pasting it in the im window when infrequent contacts ask for my number. does every company work like this? is it just the culture of my company?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


love writing lists to organize my near, far, and outer space goals. two weeks ago i found myself adding more to the list than crossing off. so i streamlined, and focused on the three things i needed to accomplish. i run at lunchtime, a true work from home perk. i have a test coming up, which requires about a month of study time, and i like to write my entries for the night before then schedule them to post around 8:30am the next morning.

i have to say, i've been quite successful with the streamlining of my goals. i have studied each day, run each day, and even squeezed in a few bonus items like vacuum the house, rewire my 4th pair of speakers, and ajax the kitchen sink. i really hate to use the overused, but less is more in this case. i'm feeling more productive and focused, two things that 2012 is going to need quite a lot of.

an off-the-list item is to pay more attention to this blog. i'm sure that by now, my rss feed has either been removed or filed in 'retired' for most of my friend's readers. and that's okay, i blog for me. but that's the thing, i haven't been blogging for me here.

but in the meantime i am running, studying, and blogging (elsewhere).