Wednesday, November 15, 2023

#319 / Zombie Apocalypse? Let's Play Catch!

Bob Brody, writing in The Wall Street Journal, suggests that new patterns of work (and specifically "remote" work, and "working from home") are bringing on a "Zombie Apocalypse." Click that link for his entire column (presuming that you can evade any paywall you might encounter). Here's an excerpt:

About 10 years ago, I caught a spooky glimpse of the future of work. I was visiting a satellite office in Chicago, high in a skyscraper overlooking Lake Shore Drive. I entered a large room where dozens of employees were lined up at desks staring at computer screens. No one was talking to anyone else or even looking up. It was an inkling of a zombie apocalypse. 

I was lucky enough to live the office life before so many of us went virtual. There, in those offices, my career happened. I went for job interviews, my heart in my throat, hoping to get hired. I suffered through performance reviews, received raises and promotions, and once, at age 56, was summoned to a surprise meeting and informed that after nine years with a firm I was being laid off.

Without an office outside the home, I would have missed so much. I would never have seen a beloved senior manager enter a conference room packed with employees to announce a round of layoffs, open her mouth, but, stricken speechless, break down crying. I would never have felt what I once felt commuting to my office by subway with all the passengers heading to the same destination—the place where we earned our living. I would never have taken my daughter to work on Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

Reading Brody's column reminded me - as I believe that I have said more than once in this blog - that when we utilize internet-based methodologies to interact with and communicate with others, we depart our physical location. We are, literally, "somewhere else," and that makes any kind of genuine human interaction pretty much impossible. I believe, having read Brody's column, that he would definitely agree. 

Brody's column had another message, too. I didn't know it until I tracked down Brody's biography, as linked to his name, above, but Brody has written a book entitled, Playing Catch With Strangers. That's right up my alley, as anyone who reads my blog with any regularity will immediately recognize. In fact, Brody definitely trumps my own appeals to engage in "Talking To Strangers." 

I am now thinking that a combination-of-ingredients approach might prove most efficacious. Pick some stranger walking by and then hail them this way: "Hey, would you like to play catch?"

That's the kind of "real world" interaction - taking place right where we actually are - that just might help turn our parlous politics into a new, and better, direction.

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