In high school (and in college too, let’s not lie) I was obsessed with AIM. I spent more time finding the perfect quote about my group of friends to put in my profile than I did actually spending time with them. I would break out into hives and have a panic attack if I realized I’d left the house without putting up an away message. I stalked the profiles and away messages of friends of friends of friends who I had never met, but felt a close bond with from keeping AIM tabs on them. There was also a disgusting amount of calculated effort to find a buddy icon that perfectly reflected my personality (an icon of Homer Simpson from the Tree House of Horror episode where his head turns into a donut and he can’t stop eating it, btw.)
When I started work after graduation, I became less enchanted with the world of AIM, a day I thought I’d never see. AIM is too all over the place to use at work, so I started to use it less and less until I finally stopped all together. Thus, the stalker and ADD kid inside of me were pretty psyched when I discovered gchat.
On a functional level, gchat is simply more discreet than AIM and isn’t quite as all over the place. And like most google applications, it works in tandem with your email/schedule/google maps etc. If google made birth control, I’d never use a condom again.
A few days ago, I was talking to my mom about how Talia had just gotten busted using gchat at her new job. My mom started ranting about how irresponsible it is to use gchat at work and how it has no place in the office. I then shot back a fiery and persuasive rebuttal, which I will share with you now. I call this rebuttal “Gchat: Where the Productivity’s at!”
I strongly believe that all companies and corporations should allow their employees to use gchat throughout the workday, because I argue that using gchat actually increases office productivity.
I compare using gchat at work to taking a power nap. When you feel exhausted and need energy, many people opt to take a “power nap.” You nap briefly (say, 30 minutes) and when you wake up, you have a sudden influx of energy—minimum sleep resulting in maximum energy.
Gchatting works in essentially the same way. For example, if I have actual work to do, I’ll work for a solid hour and then take a nice little five-minute gchat break to clear my head. Then, back to work I go. It’s sort of like taking a cigarette break, but a lot less deadly and a lot more hilarious. Hmm…cigarettes or gchat? I don’t think I want to live in a world where companies encourage and tolerate multiple cigarette breaks throughout the day, but don’t allow gchatting.
In fact, I think not gchatting is dangerous. Without a doubt, the most stressful part of the day in my last job was trying to hide the fact that I was using gchat. On a normal workday, I had three windows open: 1.) gchat 2.) a layout I was working on and 3.) an inappropriate website (inappropriate like a blog, not inappropriate like asspounders.com.) Because I used a mac, I had the advantage of using hot corners, which shuffle your windows around quickly when you move your mouse into said hot corner. I used to sit in my cubicle like a twitchy drug addict going through withdrawal, paranoid that someone was lurking up behind me ready to bust me for being on gchat. I think I have permanent neck damage from snapping my neck back to see if someone was standing behind me.
I actually almost got fired once for being on gchat at work. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was stuck in my cubicle with nothing to do but wait for a new photo to add to my layout, bored as fuck and slightly homesick. The editor of the magazine (who NEVER came to my cubicle, I was always summoned to go to her lair) rounded the corner and popped into my cubicle unexpectedly. I was like a deer in headlights. The color drained out of my face and it felt like my heart dropped into my ass. Editor found me in a state of disarray: slumped down in my office chair with one leg propped up on the table (wearing a skirt…I have no regrets,) with a pen dangling out of my mouth, gchatting the day away. Editor and I had this moment where we were both just stared at each other in disbelief. When I realized that sitting there looking up at her with an expression on my face that said “DANG!” wasn’t going to help the situation, I quickly hot cornered my windows to hide gchat, but accidentally chose the page where I was wikipedia-ing Cameo of “Word Up!” fame instead of my layout page. I ended up getting-a-good-talkin’-to from her, the Associate Art Director and my Art Director. Editor’s speech involved lots of swears and brought me to tears whereas my department superiors told me to be more careful next time and have a nice holiday.
Why must we sit in our cubicles in fear that our cunty bosses might see that we’re on gchat?! It’s like an office crush—so simple, but so necessary to get through the day! The summer after my sophomore year in college, I got a job as an office temp. I hadn’t had an office job before, so for the first few weeks I still had a work ethic and respected the “no internet” policy (I KNOW, LOLZ!) The result wasn’t getting more work done; I just found more creative ways to entertain myself. I calculated that 66.5 Marylands fit into the state of Texas, improved my sketching abilities, widdled a gun out of a paper weight using a letter-opener, fake shot myself in the head with it and avoided getting sexually harassed by a 50 year-old accountant who incessantly asked me if I wanted to go to his golf course and “knock a few balls around.”
So we have a lot of slack-assery, simulated suicide and a scorching case of sexual harassment, but thank God I wasn’t gchatting...