Something that struck me as odd was how heavily emoticons are used at work! We have an instant messenger program that everyone gets that you can use to message anyone within DP DHL (like AIM). I wasn’t really sure how much I would use it, as I had never instant messaged someone professionally (teachers, professors, etc). It’s pretty common place though, even when I communicate with my managers, all of whom are only one cubicle row away. One of my managers let me call into a meeting he had with the team from an ongoing project from his old position (I’ll speak more about that in a later post) and he used it to explain things to me without disturbing the conference call. And yes, people use emoticons all the time! I personally don’t use them when I chat with friends online or through text, but my managers and coworkers use them quite often. The accounting department here happens to be predominantly women so I think that has something to do with it. But I remember being told over and over again never to use them with people from work/school (teachers of course, not students).
I think that this partly speaks to the more casual atmosphere of Exel’s office. It’s still business casual and people aren’t doing crazy things like riding bikes around. But at the same time, everyone isn’t just out to beat one another and leave their coworker in the dust. Someone that I met had just gotten a manager position at Exel and came from another company that I won’t name, that she said was very cut throat; people were looking to beat you at everything and she said it just wasn’t a good working environment.
This doesn’t mean that I’ll be sending interview thank you letters with smiley faces any time soon. But I might start working them in here and there at work since they’re used so frequently by everyone else.