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The Glass Ceiling

It has been about three and a half hours since I finished my first live web conference with Jenny Spadafora. Growing up in a generation where AIM was second nature, I was surprised to find out how much I didn’t care for the method with which the conference was carried out. Maybe it is because I was new to this type of conference, but I was not a fan of the lack of emotion felt during the conversation.

By no means did I feel that there was a lack of interest in the topic. What I do mean, is that there was no way of replicating the emotions behind each question that the others in the conference had. Since it was just text on a screen, I needed to fill in my own perceived emotion to cover the gaps. And, as the conversation carried on, it was harder and harder to do that, because there were many, and often unrelated questions popping up. Let me take this moment to applaud Ms. Spadafora on how well she fielded all of those questions.

I was eager to hear Ms. Spadafora discuss her job/experience with workstreaming. From the description of her job prior to the conference, it sounded like something that I could see myself doing later on down the line. But, I will say that after having the discussion, I am less enthusiastic about following a similar line of work.

On page 145 of Connect, Zelenka titles a section I’m Okay, You’re OTP. In this section, Zelenka describes the etiquette of instant messaging while you are in the office. The author says that it is okay, to “Ignore a message, even if your status message says you’re available and you’re sitting right there.? (Zelenka, 2008, p.145) Out of all of the items listed, this is the one that intrigues me the most. I am definitely under the belief that just because the phone rings doesn’t mean that you have to answer it. However, after our discussion this evening, and learning that Twitter is used to constantly update coworkers about your progress/status, I have to say that I feel this information is a bit counterintuitive.

Zelenka later discuss workstreaming as an alternative to face time. “The Benefits of workstreaming include satisfying your boss (or client) that you’re making regular progress towards shared goals, notifying team members of your status in case it affects their work, and even giving youself a sense of accomplishment and progress.? (Zelenka, 2008, p.148)

The whole idea that our coworkers need to constantly know about our status/where abouts, concerns me. I feel like this dependency, overtime, will cause employees to lose the ability to be self-reliant. If this is the case, we will constantly need to update our availability through something like Twitter or an IM, whether we are at work, the coffee shop, or at home. I find this quite concerning because I don’t know where the separation between work and our personal lives will be.

I think that we are far from reaching the potential extreme grasp of Twitter updates, but I do think that we will get there. I hope that humanity will take a step back and reevaluate before we reach the point of operating completely though workstreams out of our houses. I think that we will reach a glass ceiling. If we don’t reach that point, we will eventually forget why, or for whom we are doing all of this work for.

Comments

The "ignore the message" bit was a little counterintuitive, but I think (I assume, at least) it referred to priorities. Sure, if you're on a tight deadline and your co-workers is rapidly IMing you, demanding to know your progress - probably shouldn't ignore that one. But my guess is the authors mean something less formal - if you're hard at work, and your co-workers is pinging you, asking what you for lunch - well, that might be the that's OK to ignore. Definitely could've been fleshed out in the text, however.