The coffee shops where I live are an extension of the board room, this makes them very busy most of the day and I wouldn’t want to attempt a lunch time trip again. It’s rare to see the usual coffee crowd, you know the guy sat reading a book alone, the students or the two mothers having a catch up while their children mush food around their faces.
Pretty much everyone here wears a suit and when they are sat around a coffee table they are usually talking business. The only other exception is when professional couples take a moment to remove themselves from their busy lives and they meet for a coffee. But even then they are still in suits and usually business talk isn’t far from their minds.
I am the exception, I do occasionally see a casually dressed soul or two but there is certainly a different vibe here. I have to admit it is strange, I suppose because even outside of the coffee shops the majority are wearing workwear.
Usually you can hear what the nearest tables (while drinking your coffee of choice) are talking about. Right now two professional dressed people are talking about a wedding, what suits to order and the bridesmaid dress style. I can’t quite work out if I’m listening to the soon to be bride and groom or just a interested work colleagues sharing updates about their personal lives.
Either way it’s fair to say if you sit in this coffee shop long enough I’m sure you could work out what major project every company in the financial sector is working on. Having now exchanged the professional world for a slower paced life as a house wife, I have to admit listening to professional talk the talk sounds almost comical and staged to me. When I say that, it’s not to dismiss the important of talking professionally in the working world.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved meeting and enjoyed bouncing around the technical lingo. But when you are removed from that and become an onlooker listening, the huge constrast to the way you might speak at work and the way you speak in more casual settings is very different. So when listening to professional meetings you can hear the this new project is so important that if it’s not done and X, Y, Z dependancies aren’t done exactly on time then it’s the end of the world.
Which it’s far off the truth for most, if you want to stand out in this busy world of work you need to make sure you are meeting your deadlines. Often heard at this time of year are people talking about their internal professional development reviews and what grade they are currently on. Just now I heard one guy saying he was hoping for a raise because he had met his requirements for his this year.
Wouldn’t it be odd if we all spoke as we do at home at work? If a professional attitude never existed, it never occurred to me how staged it sounds when you are no longer being professional five days out of seven in a week.