An interesting editorial in the New York Times (19 August 2012) bemoans the state of affairs in the workplace, where generation Y’ers, take the liberty of sharing too much [personal] information (TMI) with others.
The author, Peggy Klaus, gives examples of young workers talking about their looking for other positions, recounting family birthing experiences, or discussing sexual exploits or a shortage thereof.
Klaus see this as a carryover of people’s online social behavior or what she calls “Facebook in your face”–where you “tell everybody everything”–whether appropriate or important, or not at all!
Similarly, this behavior is viewed by some as young people simply acting out what they learned from their helicopter parents–who instilled “an overblown sense of worth” on them–where every poop is worth sharing from infancy through adulthood.
Ms. Klaus refers to this as O.S.D. or Obsessive Sharing Disorder–and she instead calls for “decency, common sense, and just plain good manners” in deciding what to share and when.
While I agree with a certain amount of base political correctness and decorum in the office, I think too much control (TMC) over our workforce is not a good thing.
We cannot expect people to fit in, be enthusiastic about coming to work, and be innovative and productive in their jobs–when they have to constantly be on guard–watching what they say and what they do, and worrying about making any mistake.
Assuming that people are not doing anything that hurts themselves or others, I think we should give people more room to breath, be themselves, and to self-actualize.
Holding the reins too tightly on workers, risks developing a cookie-cutter workforce–where everyone must look-alike, talk-alike, and think-alike–like virtual automatons–and such a telling and controlling environment destroys the very motivated, creative, and entrepreneurial workforce we desire and need to be globally competitive and individually fulfilled.
Best practices for teleworking, flexible work schedules, and clubs and activities at work that let people be human and themselves–makes for a happier, more committed, and more productive workforce.
Creating climates of workplace sterility, and fear and intimidation for every miscued word or imperfect deed–is neither realistic for human beings that are prone to make mistakes–nor conducive to learning and growing to be the best that each person can be.
I am not a generation Y’er, but I appreciate people who are real, words that are sincere, and deeds that are their personal best–whether it’s the way I would do it or not.
Yes, don’t talk and act stupid at work–and shame yourself or others with hateful or abusive behavior–but do feel free to be honestly you as an individual and as a contributor to the broader team–that is better than a zombie army of worker bees who faithfully watch every word and constrain every deed.
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irregular Shed)