Atlas Insider: Slackers
As I’ve mentioned before, MDK HQ is a vast space. It’s literally impossible to hear or see an other-department co-worker unless they’re screaming at the top of their lungs or jumping up and down on a trampoline (one happens more often than the other; you figure it out).
In the beginning, we toyed with ways to keep in touch across the football field-worth of space. We toyed with walkie-talkies for a week or so, but spent so much time figuring out our sign-ons and sign-offs (apparently “10-4” wasn’t good enough) and screaming “WHAT?!” into little Fisher-Price-y devices that the walkie-talkies were quickly abandoned to the same heap as the old Keurig coffee maker.
We thought about CB radios, but in true MDK warehouse employee fashion, we spent ninety-six hundred hours arguing over our potential CB handles (short version: everyone wanted to be Large Marge from “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”) so that Big Idea officially joined the Keurig and the walkie-talkies.
We finally settled on using Slack, the threaded messaging app (look at me, embracing the lingo!) and while it’s definitely helpful (plus lots of dinging. Dinging, dinging, dinging.), it’s got the same pitfalls as every other fancy electronic way to communicate mankind has ever invented—the main one being that you can just turn it off and ignore literally every question anyone asks you, even if it’s something important like, “Is the warehouse on fire?”
I think the best communication system anyone’s come up with was when Pheidippides ran 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens with news from the front, but everyone always forgets he dropped dead before he arrived—which, frankly, I think they should mention a little more when you sign up to run a marathon these days, but no one asked me.
As I just demonstrated, we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to getting off the subject, no matter how efficient the technology or how focused the thread is supposed to be. Even in a Slack thread as super-specific as the #skillset thread (which has been quite active since the recent launch of Skill Set, as I’m sure you can imagine), you’re never more than one or two comments away from someone saying something like, “You know, I was thinking about the lady who played Aunt Esther on “Sanford & Son” the other day . . .” and then a younger person (DON’T LOOK AT ME) says, “What’s ‘Sanford & Son’?” and then the whole thing just devolves into a genuine Culture War, and, well, the day might as well be over at that point.
All because someone at one end of the room asked someone at the other end, “On what page is the cast-on illustration featured?” It. Just. Happens.
To toast the oddities of collegial communication with your hot beverage of choice, here’s a giveaway. The prize? Our Ballband Thermal Mug.
How to enter?
Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.
Step 2: Leave a comment letting us know what your CB handle is (or would be if you were in a great big convoy rocking through the night).
Deadline for entries: Sunday, July 11, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.
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