Monday, March 19, 2012

Cafeteria Musings

My organization offers flexi-timings and work-from-home options. Huge benefits, if you ask me, especially for young mothers. Some days I end up eating lunch alone at the office cafeteria,  Being part of a globally dispersed team does not mean not having colleagues but there are days when none of whom you interact with are around.

Its might be unthinkable for many but I enjoy these occasional periods of solitude. It gives one the time to observe people around you, how each one differs in their dress, mannerisms, how they address one and other, the team dynamics and so on. And at times one inadvertently ends up being privy to amusing conversations, snippets of information that makes your meal-times fun.

There is this team who lunch with their manager who has quite a formidable personality. It is really amusing to see them being led to the dining table and after a quiet lunch walk away almost like school kids. There is one vibrant boisterous attention-grabbing crowd whose lunch sessions are replete with guffaws, jokes and gaiety. Its spring for them throughout the year, I suppose. The food is secondary, they walk-in and immediately own the place.

My favourite is to observe the couple doing the dating dance. One of them usually reserves a chair for the other, they partake even canteen food, generous with offhanded compliments on everything about the other (if the relationship is new) or tease incessantly which makes the other blush and yet they enjoy the attention. The ritual hardly changes even if they are among a crowd of twenty people. Oblivious to the world around them. :)

And then there are the usual girl gangs who love to bitch about everything under the sun. Conversations can start of with the railway budget, movie or UP politics and ends in some kind of rant (personal or professional). This groupie's carry elaborate lunches in multi-colored boxes, take the time to actually warm the food in microwaves and discuss the recipes of the curry. Given a chance they would love to combine the lunch and coffee-time if not for something called the work-break. :)

And lastly there are the perpetual lone wolfs. You can recognize them from a mile. Don't want to generalize but they mostly are the bespectacled-nerds who smile at their smart phones or are busy grasping their tablets mindless of what is in their plate. You can confound and intimidate them by simply asking if the seat next to them is free.

People analytics is more fun than data analytics, I say :)

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