free html hit counter
Posted on: Saturday, 19 June 2010 by Rajiv Popat

Folks at Multiplitaxion Inc are gathering in small groups and talking every time I walk through the cafeteria. There are whispers all around. It's in the air. You can quite literally feel it. There is drama in the air and it looks like the drama has a drama queen.

Or should I say, a drama king.

It seems like Fred just had a hugely vocal argument about why he cannot be working from home on a certain day. Fred it seems is not willing to accept the fact that HR isn't comfortable with the whole idea of working from home. Fred is also not willing to have a logical objective conversation with the HR folks and convince them of the benefits of letting folks work from home at times.

He chooses the vocal loud revolt instead, creating a loud conversation which turns into a heated argument.

Very soon, every single engineer, in every nook and corner of the office knows the incident and is talking about it.

Fred's intent is pure. His approach however is destructive because it involves a simple ingredient which single handedly is capable of destroying teams and organizations.

Drama.

A few days later, one of our scrums, begins with a joke involving a senior manager. Everyone in the scrum takes a stab of cracking a joke at this manager. Soon, a decently normal scrum now involves a lot of talking. It has almost turned into one of those meetings where nothing gets done. This dear manager of ours, has fired three innocent hard working programmers and has given us something to discuss.

More drama.

Some idiot somewhere has sent condescending emails with a threat to one of his managers at the time of his resignation. The email seems to have gone to everyone in the group and a truck load of people seem to be involved in discussions on the topic.

Insanely massive drama.

During my early days at Multiplitaxion Inc, I loved going to office every day, but then there was a part deep down within me which wished that there was no drama the next day. It was stressful. Seriously stressful and non-productive.

But then, to be honest, there was also a deep dark secret part of my brain, which uncontrollably liked observing drama as it unfolded. Like everyone else in the organization, I often got involved in discussing the drama as it was unfolding.

That, to an extent, is what we all do. At different levels. When there is drama unfolding all around, you are likely to get sucked in. The spice of the drama, happens to be much like the oil in the McDonalds French fries. It surely won't kill you in a shot or two, but then when it sneaks up on you, you hardly know what hit you. That is exactly what drama does to your productivity, your work ethics and your professionalism.

It turns you from a productive programmer to a drama queen before you even know it.

I have talked about this before. Relationships and circles based on criticisms don't last long. Work relationships based on dramatic situations are even worse. So I totally understand that you had nothing to do with Fred sending out that flame email to his manager and copying the entire group while he was at it, but even then, might I suggest that you disconnect from the drama and focus on being productive.

Might I suggest that when a colleague takes you to a cup of coffee and then starts bitching about a mutual boss, you gently change the topic and focus on what you can do to fix the situation rather than whining together like babies.

It's hard.

But I didn't become a programmer because I wanted to bitch, whine, moan, cry or experience a lot of negative drama. If I wanted that, I would have given my shot at the films or television. I joined programming because I wanted to work with the sharpest, smartest, wildest, wittiest and some of the most creative people I could find and then join forces with them to build stuff or tell stories about what they do or how they do it.

The lesser drama you see on a day-to-day basis, the more you will get done, the more productive you will be, the happier you will be, the more flow you will experience and above all, you will be able to build more stuff and get more done.

Go on, the next time you start experiencing random negative drama, say no to it.

Seriously.

Start saying no to it.

Chances are high that you will get much more innovative, creative and above all productive, instantly.

I wish you good luck.