I remember in college and grad school that I thought it was so unfair when we were put into groups to do papers or projects. What if someone didn’t pull their weight? What if someone never showed up for meetings or didn’t contribute anything? What if they dragged everyone else down and we got…A LOWER GRADE? The response to these concerns was always the same, this was supposed to teach us valuable lessons about working in groups in “the real world.” When we eventually graduated and got jobs, we’d have to work with people and our efforts would be evaluated as a team, and not individually. I thought this was ridiculous at the time!
Of course nearly a decade after my last group project, I do work with others and it’s rare that my work is purely individual. Even more so as a supervisor, I have to trust a team to work together and produce tangible results. And like in school, there’s the gamut of team players:) I’m lucky enough that my current team is extraordinarily high functioning – smart, responsive and creative. We still have to rely on others – and that’s where we occasionally have the stress of waiting (weeks, months) for even a reply to an email. I’ve attended meetings where key players were absent, had not sent anyone else, or even told any of us they weren’t coming.
It happens outside of work too. It’s sadly more common to send an email and get zero replies than to have anyone bother to acknowledge your message. The work tends to fall to the person that will do it, rather than being distributed in an equitable manner. Often you don’t hear from anyone unless it’s a complaint!
It makes me wonder why this is OK? When did it become so commonplace to completely ignore each other? When did acknowledging a message from a co-worker, friend, family member become such a monumental task that we simply didn’t do it? When did someone else’s time become so much more valuable that they could ignore you?
I guess these are hypothetical questions since those that could answer are the least likely to respond…