(This soapbox rant comes as a result to some interesting feedback I received at work yesterday. Apparently, a couple of people had complained to the boss of my boss about the hours I keep and background entertainment I run on my machine. Whereas some people like to listen to music, sports radio, or some other form of entertainment in the background while they work, I prefer to run live streams of professional gamers—I imagine there are those that may misinterpret my background media as me playing games, but still. I also tend to work from home in the mornings to better fit with my work/life balance, and then I stay later than the average bear at the office when I come in. I was somewhat surprised that this came up, and thus I felt compelled to write this response. Hopefully, this will serve to benefit the understanding of those complainants as well as any other “normal” people in the workforce)
Dear Workforce of the World,
The pace of innovation is breaking down barriers and letting more people contribute more ideas in more different ways than ever before. More people from more diverse lifestyles can fill roles that were previously inaccessible to them. Flexible work schedules, working remotely, and flatter organizations all combine to form a more responsive and adaptive working culture in a world where change is more constant than stasis.
With that understanding established, I would ask one favor from the career office jockeys: break your expectations. From dress code changes to the changing working hours people keep, the workplace has been constantly evolving. Being flexible with each other’s working style is crucial in making a successful organization. So the next time you see someone working different from you, consider learning about their working style before jumping to conclusions and expending extra cycles raising the issue elsewhere in the organization. Who knows, perhaps you will be able to learn some new advantages to their different working style and apply it in your own life.
A Non-Traditional Worker
(In the spirit of taking my own medicine, I recognize how my unconventional working style can come off as abrasive or disturbing to the “normal” worker. So, I will change my ways when I’m in the office so as to leave a good impression, but that does not mean I won’t stop working to broaden the horizons of everyone around me. Hopefully, we will grow individually and organizationally to become more flexible and adaptive to the changes & differences that arise in this beautiful world.)