Headline, January 30 2021/ ''' '' VIDEO CALLS VINES '' ''' : PARANOIA



THERESE NAUWELAERTZ HAD BEEN WORKING IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY at a large health care organization for nine months when she got a new project manager.

She still had the same supervisor, but this new person was in layer in between them. Up until the new person started, ''it was pretty smooth going for a long time,'' Ms. Nauwelaertz, 48, said. But just a few days after the new manager started, ''that's when the feedback break happened.''

Ms. Nauwelaertz GOT LEFT OUT of a strategy session via Zoom, and she found out about it only from her peers who had been included. Then the emails and chats from her so-workers slowed to a trickle.

She heard another co-worker was laid-off. ''That's when I got really suspicious, and the paranoia started setting in,'' Ms. Nauwelaertz said.

PAST RESEARCH ON THE TOPIC OR ORGANIZATIONAL and social paranoia shows that working from home many exacerbate uncertainty about status, which can -

Lead to overprocessing information and rumination, said Roderick M. Kramer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, who has studied paranoia at work.

Remote work can contribute to ''feeling out of the loop, because you're missing the kinds of ad hoc conversations that tend to reassure us we're in good standing,'' Mr. Kramer said.

So-called organizational paranoia isn't always irrational. And there's even a term for that kind of sensible hyper vigilance : prudent paranoia.

''Part of paranoia is about self-presentational issues,'' Mr. Kramer said. And it's not just in our heads that we are being judged for how to look and how our homes look on video chats.

THERE'S ROOM RATER - A TWITTER ACCOUNT THAT GIVES ratings to people's video chat backgrounds -and at this writing it has more than 374,000 followers.

A typical tweet from the account is, ''Good plant, Couch. There's a pillow. Lovely morning light. Needs much else. ''Art. 6/10.'' It is not unreasonable to think our co-workers are engaging in some of the same kinds of judgment.

BUT HAVING BILLIONS OF WORKERS THE WORLD OVER communicate completely virtually with their co-workers does not mean our emotional office dynamics have caught up yet with our new videoconference world.

Many are feeling a spectrum of new anxieties about their interactions with colleagues. Many employees are asking themselves questions like : Is that Slack message unanswered because I'm getting fired, or because my boss is dealing with remote schooling her kid?

Did that joke land flat on that video call because it was a bad joke, or am I falling out of favor?

Small moments are becoming amplified for Shireen-Ali Khan, 37, a consultant in London. Brief interactions she'd normally let go - a minute or two out of a 10-hour day - become opportunities for obsessing, ''because essentially you're at home looking at the wall,'' Ms. Ali Khan said.

She described a senior colleague asking her to manage a virtual mailbox, which according to Ms. Ali Khan, is a task that is far below her skill and pay level.

Ms. Ali-Khan politely pushed back. But she was given the task anyway, and she felt disrespected.

While this would have been a minor irritation in normal times, ''you just lose a lot of that personal touch, then you read into it more; you're going on one nugget of information,'' she said - rather than a fully formed interpersonal relationship.

Liz Drew, 35 started a new job as the manager of a merchant operations team in Omaha during the pandemic, and worries a lot about how she comes off on her video calls because she has a 2-year-old at home.

''I have a house that's not organized or clean right now,'' she said. ''Especially in anew role where nobody knows that history, it's a little embarrassing that I have this dresser sitting between me with a sippy cup on it.''

Jane Marie, 42, who is the owner of the podcast production company Little Everywhere and is a single mother, said she's worried that she is losing out on business opportunities because of how she comes off on video calls.

''I wear the straight bangs across short bob that only eccentric gallery owners in movies have,'' she said.

''I always worry if I'm meeting new people remotely on Zoom. I won't get my serious side across -already being a woman is worse for that.

Ms. Nauwelaertz - it turned out was right to be paranoid. On a Thursday morning a week after a new project manager started, there was silence on all channels from her colleagues. She was dropped from a meeting without notice - it was just taken off her calendar.

When she finally got an email from her supervisor on Friday asking for a meeting at noon that day, she knew that she was getting laid-off as part of a restructuring.

''I felt paranoid, and everybody I talked to said it was probably paranoid, but I was correct,'' she said. ''It was actually happening exactly how I thought.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on the State-of-the-World : Digital interactions, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jessica Grose.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Digital - Digress '''

Good Night and God Bless

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