It has been a few years since I have worked in a large, corporate environment. Most of my jobs have been in small shops where everyone is on a first name basis and the need for badges is nonexistent. One of the peculiarities of an office with several thousand employees is the whispered greeting. I had forgotten about it until I returned to the employ of The Man but I can report it is still very much a part of hall culture. The whispered greeting happens when you pass someone that you do not know in the corridors and the pleasant culture that has been fostered in your workplace necessitates that you smile and offer up some form of greeting. Since you don’t know their name, a generic salutation is all that can be expected so you squeeze out a “hello” or a “hi.” And for some unknown reason it comes out quiet and barely audible. The implied expectation is the greeted will read our lips and, since making no noise would be rude and possibly awkward, we throttle everything back, offer up the minimum and all criteria will be met. This does not apply if you know the person; it is only accepted if you have no idea who the person is and desire to be polite. The whispered greeting seems to be an accepted practice and I do not see it ending any time soon since there is no way I will get to know everyone in this building on a first name basis. (But wouldn’t it be amazing if I did?) The whispered greeting is one step above the head nod but way less cool.


Steve Andrews said...

Uhm..m . .m (deliberate but reflexive and slight nod of the head . . . and continued plodding footsteps in the other direction). (And I know you! Maybe it's the garlic bagel.)

Anonymous said...

I like to say "I am doing great, thanks for asking" when you say Hi and they say nothing.