Ask anyone who’s met or worked with me and they would probably describe me as a fun and outgoing person (well….. I hope they would). But meet me in person or find me on a conference call with you for the first time and you will probably find me quietly sitting in the background. In reality I am a very shy person when I first meet people and attending a networking event is one of my worst nightmares.
Thanks to this amazing digital world we live in we are able to build entire relationships virtually. Since working for IBM I’m pretty sure I have got to know more people purely through email and instant messaging. In one of my roles I worked within a team where I only met one colleague in ‘the real world’. My manager and my other colleague were all based in Europe so we only knew each other via email/sametime and calls. Some may find this a very weird way to work, but it’s something we seem to take for granted. And to be honest, this suits me down to the ground!
With email and instant messaging I can think before I ‘speak’ and be the person I would hope I would be if I wasn’t the shy guy I am (for those people who do know me, please don’t laugh at that last line…). For those people that are not ‘out’ at work and work in our virtual world, I imagine this could be a god send. You can think and frame your responses safely from behind your screen. The same freedom I imagine can be felt by our T friends. After reading a book about a trans lady’s life experience (*), not having the worry about tell-tale signs such as their voice giving them away must be a relief. So our weird world in IBM where we have far more virtual relationships than real relationships may look very strange from the outside, but is in fact one of the reasons many may find greater ease to truly be who they are.
(*Sunlight in the Darkness by Anne Cognito is available from Amazon for the Kindle.)