Microsoft’s unsung contribution to work in 2020 is a sheer delight
You find your succor where you can these days.
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Whatever or whoever gets you through, you’re grateful.
I’ve relied on various friends, authors, and wine varietals. The good fortune to have lunch with my wife on a regular basis, too.
But I’d like to thank Microsoft for making a tiny contribution to my mental wellbeing, likely without ever knowing it.
A lone person among the company’s cadre — or perhaps there are several of them — has taken it upon themselves to create tiny glimpses of pandemic work life that drift somewhere between haiku and high drama.
Should you not yet have encountered them, Microsoft’s Twitter account is peppered with small pictures of Zoom life — I mean, Microsoft Teams life — during COVID times.
Amid all the serious tweets about how truly wonderful Microsoft is on a daily basis, these tiny gems lurk with wink and leave you smilingly disarmed.
A sample from Thursday:
*Waves but doesn’t unmute.*
Yes, that’s it. That’s the tweet.
Another Thursday offering:
Brad: “Hey everyone, I need to jump to another call.”
You: “Wow, Brad.”
To the lay Twitter rubbernecker, these cameos often bring a smile or merely a positive snort. They’re not Voltaire or Montaigne, but they’re a touching recognition of what many working lives currently are.
You: “Does anyone have any questions before we move on?”
Us: “Yeah, what day is it?”
There’s never an explanation. There’s only the thought. It’s like Scenes From A Marriage, with Ingmar Bergman in a good mood.
For all I know, these could all be the precise recountings of Microsoft meetings that day. But who could not feel solidarity with this:
You: “I seem to be having some Wi-Fi issues, just get started without me.”
Everyone else: “We’ll wait.”
These things come out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere. Yet, in the moment while they’re there in front of you, there’s something so welcome about them.
A recent tweet, for example, offered: “Next slide, please.”
I want to know what motivated it, but I know it’s better not to. It’s just there, another tiny chapter in a story unlikely to end.
This was one of my favorites, too. The words “It’s been a year. Share all that apply.” Among the choices: “You barely used any slide transitions in PowerPoint this year. Are you OK?”
Microsoft hasn’t always laughed at itself easily. That’s partly because others were so used to laughing at Redmond.
Now a touch more emotionally confident, the company seems able to mine more interesting feelings.
When one of these philosophical tweets wafts down my timeline, I find myself appreciating both the effort and the consistency.
Another one from this month:
*Oh, my. Someone else is already here. I’ve never met them before. Do I say hi?*