“It’s who we work with that makes our day.” A peer recently shared her thoughts on her career development and her sentiment capped a rather lackluster summary. Nonetheless, I considered the quote to be noteworthy and thought-provoking in comparison to the overall discussion and I scribed it on a piece of mostly blank paper that I had brought for the purpose of note taking. I let the line roll around in my head for a few days, I shared the words via social media, and now weeks later, I continue to think about the idea that the people around us are the ones that contribute to the joys and the sorrows, to the successes and challenges, to the listlessness and energy that enhance and alter our professional environment. Mostly I think about the people around me who fit into this category: the good and the bad.
It’s easy to name names and describe the individuals that have tarnished the shiny spots in my adulthood. I am amazed by fully grown bullies who perpetuate childish behaviors sowing their seeds into a weed-infested environment. If given the choice, I would prefer to go seedless than be choked by the thorns and thistles around me. The good deserve all the credit: the bosses who went to the mat for me during the rounds of layoffs, leaders who allowed me to develop projects and presentations without a touch of micromanagement, and the cubicle neighbors who shared a laugh or a batch of cupcakes from home. Both made the work environment tolerable or terrible, palatable or painful in turn.
Naval submarines, in order to avoid being detected in the baffles of an opposing underwater vessel, shut down and silently coast through the ocean’s darkness eluding detection and emitting no marine signature. Gliding smoothly, disrupting only the water they displace, they communicate with no one, they continue their mission, and they survive upon their self-reliance. When the risk abates and security allows, they resurface, communicate only as much as necessary, and then resume their duties beneath the sea as an autonomous entity. They go quiet.
The concept intrigues me: setting out into a vast ocean of uncertainty, removing most forms of communication, and relying entirely upon the self-sufficiency of a single vehicle, its cargo, its crew, and its forward motion. Leaving behind the office insanity, office politics, and office bullies for a solo existence promises to make my day far more rewarding than the tolerance of the banality and boredom that summarized my own lackluster existence. I expect in the months and years ahead, I, too, will surface occasionally, communicate out of necessity, and travel independently. Immersed in my own environment, my modus operandi will accentuate my solitary nature and I will hover silently in the baffles. Don’t assume I have taken on water or that I have succumbed to the pressures of the deep; just know that I am going quiet.