Mark Thompson

Emoji invades workplace, staff felled by passive-aggressiveness

emoji

Approx Reading Time-10Call it a cautionary tale if you must, but after excessive use of emoji in the workplace, the tedious breakdown in communication caused 100 rifts no emoji could repair. Beware.

 

 

 

As a pseudo-serious pseudo-journalist, dipping to hyperbole is not…very good. But, it can earnestly be said, without a shred of tangible evidence, that our emoji culture will detonate the planet, and take us all with it. In fact, for my golden sterling, the emoji’s continued use is the black plague of our generation. One person casually infects another. Lipstick, sunglasses, pandemic.

However, there is one societal arena in which this can not be tolerated. The workplace. That concrete cell that should afford no personality. Check your infinitely identical unique traits at the door, because it’s time for serious biz-a-ness. Now, yes, passive-aggressiveness has been a necessary part of the workplace ever since we were shepherded in the same building after the Industrial Revolution forced us so. And yes, as the tools in which to perform our tasks become more advanced, it makes sense that our ability to criticise said tasks, or the ineffectual work of others, should develop too. But, the elastic casual nature of the emoji is a dark force of emotion that should not be trifled with.

That, and it’s fucking stupid.

Now for myself, I have trifled with dark forces I can’t comprehend, and my preferred weapon is the ‘100’ emoji. As we conduct business primarily through SMS and Facebook messenger outside of the office, the maximal mark we can grant as a society is invaluable, both in times of great success, and great personal crisis. It’s a coverall, a regal backhanded gesture fired from a place of great safety and privilege. After being bollocked for 20 minutes, or indeed dealing with the piss poor efforts of subordinates, the ‘100’ will invariably appear, rising proudly like a mountain out of the sea. “Cower at the power of the Centurion, for I deem this situation to not be worthy of words – I will signal a vague symbol of support which can be extrapolated numerous ways. Ha, ha, ha.”

For a wonderful few weeks, I was above criticism in the workplace. Until a general meeting about it saw that particular emoji banned from work communications.

Prior to that, the casual vibe of the workplace was one grating subtextual angst – like a partner who had discovered the other had cheated but was yet to broach the topic, whilst the cheater somehow knew they’d been caught out. Walking to my desk on eggshells had eviscerated my feet. But, post “the talk”, and as time has rolled around, wounds have healed and people have forgotten. It’s a low point of our relationship, something that’ll always be present, something to be dredged up when intoxicated or as ammunition in a fight. Something I’m not proud of, and which has been collectively agreed upon as not a good thing to do.

So, while I’ve only cheated proper etiquette once (well, 100), I can only imagine that introducing the entire collection of strange, albeit emotionally different, faces to the work relationship would be a betrayal of trust on par with a car-key party.

That being said, don’t listen to me. It’s an unhinged anecdote at best, just don’t do it. You’ll go blind (to the ramifications) if you do. Beware the ides of passive-aggressiveness.

 

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