Re: The Telecommuting Myth and ignorant remarks

Subject: Re: The Telecommuting Myth and ignorant remarks
From: Tom Johnson <johnsont -at- STARCUTTER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 13:58:01 -0400

Golly, Tim and Eric, two people I have a lot of respect for, battling it
out. Now I know how some kids must feel when their parents have a spat.

[Tim Altom said] ...
This is one of the best
threads I've been in for quite some time. It's been thoughtful and
pleasurably contentious.

[Tom Johnson]
To which I have to say I agree.

[Tim Altom went on to say] ...
Some repondents have given opinions that you can telecommute and still
participate. I'm sorry, but I'm not convinced. There's nothing that
the daily, moment-by-moment proximity of a team member.
[Tom Johnson]
But Tim, this list is like a team! We bounce things off each other all day
long. The reason I devote so much time to reading this material is because
it is provocative and stimulating. I'm a sole writer for our company and I
get way more aid from this list than I do from the staff here.

[Tim Altom goes on further] ...
You CAN run off with
your little piece of the puzzle, have good conversations from time to time,
get along with others on the team, have lunch occasionally, and work in
comfort, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a
wholesale, bone-deep sense of commitment to a cause, not to a product or a
document. I'm talking about a shared vision. Shared visions (not goals) are
only possible with constant reinforcement within an environment. Leave that
environment and the gravitational force fades inversely with distance. It
needs to be pervasive, like shared sunshine.
[Tom Johnson]
You sound like your talking more about this list.

[Tim Altom ] ...
Not everyone belongs on every team, of course. To belong, you have to share
the team's values, because its values drive its vision. If you don't share
them, it's best to move on. That makes such a team resemble a cult, if only
superficially. Some people, I suppose, are simply not "joiners" even when
they find a place where they fit. They won't last at a visionary company, I
guess. But for me, I love the sense of commitment and values-sharing.

[To which I reply]
Yes it sounds kind of like a cult. Actually, I was thinking more of a
commune. Let's see, would that make you a "Technical Commune-icator"?
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Seriously, your utopian work community does sound
like a good work environment, but the world is a diverse place and
different strokes for different folks. For what it is worth, I think it
would be great to work in either environment. I think the important thing
is for people to be working together. It doesn't matter so much where a
body is working as it does if they are pulling together. Sure there are
some dynamics that just don't happen if people are far away. On the flip
side, there may be some people that can work together better from a
distance. (Remember the thread a couple weeks ago about stinky co-workers
and confined cubicles?) Obviously, distance can make some people more
compatible. I would have to think neither extreme is really ideal.

Have a good weekend everybody.

Tom Johnson
Elk Rapids, Michigan - On the freshwater coast

johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com work
thomasj -at- freeway -dot- net personal

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