February 12, 2008
I’m used to not being anonymous. For quite some time at work, no matter what hall I walk down, I end up seeing someone that I know, and say hi to. Its kind of fun! Its like being in a big community – personal, close, comforting.
This is even the case w/the “execs” at Microsoft. I’ve been involved in enough stuff so that I know by name/face the majority of VPs at Microsoft, as well as most of the “Partner” level folks (think of the most senior 500+ people in the company).
My office at work is near some of the big conference rooms that we have. In order for me to walk between the two buildings that my Redmond-based team is in, I generally walk past these rooms. All sorts of meetings happen in these rooms – New Employee Orientation (NEO in MS Parlance), team meetings, customer meetings, you name it.
This morning, just before 8, I heard SteveB’s and his voice (its loud, and distinct) down the hall. I knew that something was up.
(Basically, lots of folks at MS are known by their email names – BillG, SteveB, etc. When people refer to others, they “say out” their email name if they are pronounceable. E.g. ‘Steve Bee”. Best MS email name ever – lakaplan – “Lack A Plan” – she was a Program Manager.)
Later in the morning, on my way to a meeting in the other building, I walked past the conference rooms at about 5 before the hour (meeting break time). There in the hall were quite a large number of VPs and other senior folks, the vast majority who I know by name, and who know me my name.
Not any more.
I walked through the crowd, anonymous. People looked at me – people who I’ve worked with for more than ten years in some cases. Nothing. One person who I knew only a bit- I saw this look of half-recognition, and then utter confusion.
I was walking next to someone who works on my team, and we were chatting.
As we walked past the rooms, I remarked to her:
“They didn’t know who I was! Wow, I know *all* those people.”
We went to the meeting, then walked back.
Same deal, right through the crowd – anonymous.
Now, this is in no way a commentary about anything except the fact that I look different. A lot different. But I don’t see it.
I look I the mirror, I see me. I don’t see anyone but me. I see the same face that I saw for 39 years.
I don’t think other people do, and that’s just interesting.