27 May 2008

obligatory hallway greetings

(Working in corporate America is bizarre for me. Having spent the great majority of my adult working life either slinging coffee at Starbucks or slinging peanut-butter and jam sandwiches at African kids in Johannesburg, this whole office environment is a little weird to me. This week, I’ll share a few of the many stories that are emanating from my time as a corporate lemming. Yesterday, I decided to take a stand against intra-office maritime references.)

Part 2: Obligatory Hallway Greetings

On a typical run to the bathroom, copy room, file room, or break room, I am liable to run into a good half-dozen people. I probably won’t know any of their names, job titles, responsibilities, or life situations. So why, in this silly corporate environment, do we have to make eye contact, smile, nod, and mumble some sort of rhetorical greeting? Why?

Some Other Guy: Mornin’…
Me: Hey.

Some Other Guy: How’s it going?
Me: Hey.

Some Other Guy: Hey.
Me: Hey.

Get the idea? Why is this being promoted? I know that the other guy doesn’t care any more than I do about saying hello. He doesn’t want to know how I am doing and he knows that I already know that it is, in fact, morning. Saying “afternoon” as everyone runs to the vending machine for their 3 o’clock sugar high isn’t any better. We all know what general portion of the day it is.

I have begun my own private revolt. I either say nothing, giving a half-smile and nod or I take a sincere interest in the individual, stop them in the hall and ask them personal questions about their life. One way or another, we can stop all of this unnecessary greeting.

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