You have been PROFILED…

17 Apr

After racial profiling comes the new age of social profiling and what I like to call ‘Colleague profiling’ (doesn’t have an actual terminology yet – so calling that to get the point across). 

What is colleague profiling? Although it comes under the huge umbrella of social profiling, I would like to throw some light on this so that it gets it’s due limelight. I will have to take you back to your first day in the organization, it could be your first job or the tenth one. Have you observed how the shake hands and lips word “Pleasure to meet you”, but the eyes and face say -“So you are the new guy hired in my department.. hmmmm”? That is colleague profiling. First day is always awkward. What are these people thinking? What are they staring at? People getting out of their work stations, swirling in their chairs to have that one look to see who their new competitor is. They will stare at the clothes you wearing, to the stilettos you clanking on the marbled floor, or the poise you walk with and the manner you are seated. Your interactions are gauged, your every move is being monitored. You feel like you have just stepped in the observation room filled with curious scientists or doctors or you in Heaven where you the lovely angel (matter of perspective, yours not theirs). 

I know men are thinking this happens only with the ladies and women are thinking well only men are more worried about competition. But both get equally profiled. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn marking its territory on the social media along with it making ‘social profiling’ the next big thing, what chance does human with an inbuilt technical system of profiling and judging people. Creating their own algorithms in their heads, analyzing the facts as they see and providing their own conclusion and reaction to the other, hold. Technology is popularizing this concept with Klout and facial recognition on iPhones that allows us to calculate someone’s Klout score just by aiming our phone at them. (I enjoyed reading this article – You may too). Now you adding a feature like this to the incomprehensible human mind – what a deathly weapon-  what a disaster? 

Colleague Profiling is what makes one judge the other you work with – is he/she friendly, forward, nasty, mean, backstabbing, in-your-face or just plain nice – all this and more is available under this profiling. Also, you can share your opinion with one word with all your close pals at work. All this is in air (similar to ‘the cloud’) – you need no gadgets and it has the ability to linger there for as long as yours and other’s memory space allows it.

Why am I against it you ask? Well firstly this profiling asks me to change my mannerisms, behavior and conduct with my colleagues which may or may not differ from my behavior and conduct with friends. You asking me to be someone I am not so that someone I don’t care for may find me to be a nice person – Twisted. Secondly, It scars your reputation. If someone who may be an extrovert may very quickly get a bad name and people may act frisky while on the other hand an introvert may miss out opportunities cause may not be viewed as a team player or get avoided as not seen as popular – Nasty. Thirdly, we all are here to work so why can’t we gauge a person just on the work he/she does why does it have to get personal or social. When we walk into our office each day, we want to be accept for who we are, cause that brings out the best results in our work. If I am not someone who puts up with rubbish and gives people their due to their face and if I am asked to tone down and been taken advantage of – I don’t quite know how to react otherwise and hence the person feels they have gotten away with it – it’s called being ‘Professional’ about it (I just learnt it a few years back). But honestly how is that helping anyone. While I understand that at work we must maintain work ethics I am not quite sure it means to give up on your personal values and ethics. Just because someone has a problem with the way I am I address the problem by changing who I am – well I have a problem with that.

How do I get away from Colleague Profiling? Well you can’t. You can try by being quite, not coming in anyone’s way and minding your business but still in some way you will soon be profiled. It is a quiet activity, you know it’s happening but have no evidence. So you just ignore. Let people think what they may. Choose discernment – know who can be your friends, who are your friends and who can be a potential profiler. If you good at what you do or worse best at what you do then you are sure to make more enemies than friends. But that’s fine you always knew you not here to make friends just do your work.

You spend half your lifetime working, most of your youth is spent in those confined four walls and judgmental faces, you can choose to mull over it or choose to take the best from it and make the most for yourself. A word of caution – it is easy to become a colleague profiler yourself. So next time you look someone from top to bottom, or pass a judgement – Stop and think – the one standing behind you is doing the exact same thing 🙂 


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