The world of the workplace and that of a teenager’s life are very different. If I want to contact my advisor, I cannot “Facebook” her. I cannot text her or hit her up on AIM. I have to send an email. Granted, it isn’t actual mail, but even still, to someone who was born into Web 2.0 it feels uncommonly slow and formal. The etiquette of sending an email isn’t properly taught to us, because even this ancient technology is too advanced to be taught in any computer curriculum. As such, the first few emails back and forth felt awkward. Do I begin it with “Dear Dr. Wilkerson”? “Hey there”? “Wassup”? I can’t seem too friendly–she isn’t my friend. But if I speak only in short. Clipped. Sentences. I. Sound. Like. A. Jerk.
But more even than emails, there is a certain workplace etiquette that just takes some getting used to. In a lot of ways it is a formal setting. In many others, it’s a group of biology nerds hanging out and working on things that interest them. It’s hard sometimes to reconcile these two images of RTC. Because there’s an unspoken line. But because it isn’t spoken of, it took me awhile to fully realize where it is. Even now I wouldn’t be able to fully articulate to you its location.
But you find it eventually. And the emails stop being awkward. When you get into the rhythm of things, they really just flow.