In the headlights: from Deer to Mothman

Subject: In the headlights: from Deer to Mothman
From: "Alex Silbajoris" <alsilba -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 13:01:55

I recognize that description of freezing up when someone is literally looking over your shoulder. (Actually, my current manager has the habit of leaning in so close that our clothing touches.)

I haven't read every messge in the thread, so maybe this point has been raised already, but when someone is performing stand-up training, they are also in the lights. I conduct training sessions from time to time, and in those cases I find it useful to take on a circus ringmaster's role. It's really a different persona from the one I use elsewhere in the office. I'm the conductor of the show, but if the session goes well, the participants will interact in several ways, making up a large part of the show.

OTOH there are the terrified students, too, worried about being held responsible for learning something they don't understand and sometimes don't like. Then I have to try to avoid being a figure of terror, dragging them into the light by trying to make them participate.

As for the issue of setting up a cubicle to one's own advantage - the cube I sit in is set up, as many are, so that if I sat in the designed user's spot, I would have my back turned perfectly to the entrance in the opposite corner. Many people in this office have adapted various solutions to this, from small cosmetic mirrors looking back over their shoulders, to non-standard cubicle arrangements.

I set up my computer at one end of the work space, so anyone passing by sees the side of my monitor instead of the screen. This way I sit with the entrance at my left, where my lazy left eye catches anyone on the way in. (I can, as they recently said on Car Talk, "fry the fish and keep an eye on the cat.") I told my manager that this way, my right arm is supported while I use the mouse. Yeah, that's the ticket.

The little cosmetic mirrors have the odd effect of giving me eye contact with the cube occupant even when I'm ten meters away in a corridor. I strongly recommend the use of the round convex mirrors; placed on the front of a monitor, they can make it impossible for someone the sneak up on you unless they crawl on the floor behind your chair. (Grist for Office Space v.2) I smiled when I read here about a list member's company handing them out.

Off Topic: Put those mirrors on your vehicles, too.

- A

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