No pom-pons here

Playing possum

I’ve always been a bit suspicious about corporate cheerleaders (this phrase brings up some interesting search results; I linked one of the safer ones here). It’s easy to be proud of where you work and excited about what you’re doing when new to the work force, but after a few years of watching the system in action it’s natural to be a bit jaded. I’ve always tried to avoid outright cynicism but I would be lying if I said I had never dipped into that realm. So when someone never stops talking about how excited they are to work at a certain company, I wonder who they are trying to convince.

So I was a bit surprised at myself when I told a friend in a recent email that I was excited to be working where I am.

In this case, it isn’t about a specific technology, or a set of tools, or even my co-workers. Instead, I’m excited because of what I’m seeing in the corporate culture.

Several years back, I returned from a JavaOne conference excited about advances in tech culture. I didn’t know it, but what I was excited about was the start of what people are now calling Web 2.0 (which deserves and will get its own blog post, trust me). I was aching for a way to find other people in the company who were excited about these ideas. I struggled for a while to make things happen, and ended up with some small gains in some small places, which left me both hopeful for the future but frustrated with my limited influence.

Others, fortunately, don’t give up as easily as I do. Chuck Hollis started writing about the results of all the people pushing in this direction in August of last year, but the cultural shift was slow and steady before that.

I was an early adopter of EMC’s internal social media platform. I found myself reconnecting with old colleagues, making new connections to people I’d never met, and watching (and participating) as new communities formed online. It’s not just tools, here; the culture is changing.

It’s not all beautiful; we have a lot of growing left to do. But we are growing, and I’m proud to be a part of it. That is why I say I’m excited to be working at EMC. And, in the end, that’s why I started this blog. There are exciting things happening, and I think there are compelling stories to be told. And to me, that’s what blogging ends up being about.