Why I'm Trying to Lose Friends and Alienate my Co-workers
I have a big confession to make.
I did something recently that may well turn me into the office pariah – shunned, ignored, ostracized and more likely than ever to be passed over for promotion. In mere seconds, I broke the unspoken bond that held the team together.
I quit the staff WeChat group.
It's ironic because I created the group about two years ago with the good intention of making sure everyone in the office got important messages quickly and easily. Things seemed ok at first but after a while, it seemed to morph from a notice board for important announcements into a casual chat group to dip into and start threads whenever people got bored. Important messages were being delivered, but anyone who read them also had to trawl through a bunch of emoticons and videos of people screaming, laughing or dancing, depending on the seriousness of the message.
It wasn’t just the subject matter that was the real concern, though. Sometimes two or three people would just chat among themselves in the group when they really should have just had a private conversation. My working days were constantly interrupted by the constant beeping of messages that for the most part, weren’t even worth reading. It got so bad that it sometimes woke me up in the early hours as well.
It wasn’t just me that was bothered by this. My boss, some of the senior staff and other teachers gently reminded others during our meetings to show some restraint and send important messages only, but to no avail.
When I occasionally told others in the office how frustrated I was with the whole thing, I would get a response along the lines of ‘well, you could just ignore it and sign out of WeChat’ which I didn't find particularly helpful. There are other people I want to talk to on WeChat and my wife prefers to send messages through there as well. Why should I cut off important people just to get a bit of peace?
The group was at its busiest during holidays and important events such as annual dinners, staff holidays and team building events. I would get up to 200 messages per day, mainly group photos of people grinning and making the V sign. During Spring Festival and Christmas, virtual packets of red envelopes would be exchanged at a furious rate, with people sending just as many thank you emoticons back and forth.
The next annual dinner is coming up and I’m sure that if I were still in the group, my phone would struggle to process the hundreds of group photos and pictures of food. I think back to last year when my phone almost crashed. I just couldn't understand why they needed to send photos of where they are, who they’re with and what they’re doing when I’m sitting almost right next to them at the same table.
There was no tipping point so to speak - not one pointless photo or silly comment too many that made me quit, it was more of a gradual erosion of my sanity. The moment came when a group of local staff were having a routine conversation. I just calmly bought up the ‘delete and leave’ icon, hovered my finger over it for about 30 seconds, took a deep breath and calmly quit the group.
As soon as I did this, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Until I did that, I had no idea how much stress this group had caused me and now I felt free. My work days feel much quieter and calmer and I have no intention of rejoining the group.
I don't think wechat group is good for the work notification. Who will check out wechat group in every second to see if there's a message pop up? I don't. And I have two wechat, one is personal and another on is for working stuff, and I don't login on the working wechat most of the time. My previous company has a wechat group and the engineer would send important products material there and I just didn't see them most of the time. I'd say better send important stuffs by email. It's more efficient and shows some profession.
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