Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ask Di: Trouble at Work from Second Life

Di poses
Location: Our Virtual Advice Desk

Dear Di,

I have no problem ignoring the lunkheads who think Second Life is a haven for losers and sex-addicts. Most of them cannot even remember to put a subject line into an e-mail, and they think that a "blog" is something you clean up with a mop.

But it's tougher at work. I'm a 20-something professional who works in a corporate but decidedly old-school setting, and at a meeting someone mentioned Second Life and then another co-worker, who's seen my blog, said that "Geekboy over there has an avatar." I didn't mind the revelation, but now I'm getting ribbed by the coffee machine about having cyber-sex and spending all night online. I don't do either!

But you know how it is at offices: everyone remembers one thing and that becomes how you get known.

I'm afraid, in my serious corporate office, my Second Life may be regarded as a negative come evaluation time. My buttoned-down, no-nonsense supervisor is over 50, cannot do a lot with the Internet and probably considers it a morally dangerous place.

I'm a good worker and I don't want to quit SL. I don't log in during work time either (though I'm writing you this e-mail from there!).

What would you do?

Yours truly,


Dear Geekboy,

Well, even good gossip dies down eventually. I see that you have 2 choices: 1 - you can totally ignore everything everyone says, don't respond at all to any comments, and people will forget about it. Most of the pickers only pick when they get a reaction. When you give them nothing back they will move on to something else. 2 - If you really are motivated by the fact that you have the right to do whatever you want on your own personal time and you want to get that point across to your co-workers, then you will have to take on the crusade, which is not the easy path.

You will have to point out articles, facts, etc..., defending your point that SL (or any online gaming community) is about more than what gets reported on the news. There are tons of educational institutions and large corporations that have a SL presence now. You might even be able, depending upon what your company does, to persuade your bosses to explore the benefits of having a SL presence of their own. Maybe you can turn SL into a part of your job... cool hmm?

If that is not an option, then consider this: If your supervisor isn't very internet savvy, chances are he knows anything about SL other than what he's heard is nil. Chances of him looking more into it are probably not that great either. Chances are he doesn't really care... and I don't see how any decent intelligent business person would let something you do in your off hours reflect upon the evaluation of how you perform your work duties. Personally, I don't like conflict and I would choose to ignore the dummies and let it die down. But if I worked for someone who judged my work performance by my leisure activities, I would probably be searching Monster on my lunch hour.


There's a whole other column right there.....

Good luck

Questions for Di? Iggy will forward them to her! E-mail iggyo -at- mac -dot- com

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