The Community Model§
by Russell Dyer
published: february 26, 2006; revised: february 26, 2006; readers in past month: 89
There’s a guy that I work with at MySQL who I aggrivate immensely when we have occasion to interact with each other. It’s not often and I try to avoid it. But, he sometimes is so bothered by me that he cannot help engaging me on-line or in person at meetings. His dislike for me and my irritation with him is so great, it has become a bit of a joking point among people at MySQL. There are times when I’ve noticed that he has tried to be nice and civil and I patient and understanding — foregoing my earlier method of egging him on for fun. However, we still clash.
Recently, I noticed that I had not seen him on-line — either logged in or chatting with anyone. Additionally, I noticed that he hadn’t sent out any emails to some of the internal mailing lists. He usually sends several a day. After a few days, I began to worry about him and made inquiries of people who are friends with him at the AB. I began to worry about his health and suggested that someone should check on him. It turned out he had in fact been sick and it was me, his nemesis, that was the first to notice his absence and show concern.
Along these same lines, a couple of months ago his wife had thrown a surprise birthday party for him. She invited family, friends, and the two people from the AB who lived in their area. One of these co-workers mentioned the party to me and told me that he wasn’t going to attend because he didn’t feel like going. Concerned that it might be sad not to have a couple of people from work there, I tried to encourage this person to attend. He didn’t go. What’s interesting is that I was worried about the feelings of this fellow who never misses a chance to attack me.
Over the years, especially when I have been in employment positions as a manager, I have argued against the sports team metaphor for managing a business organization. Instead, I have argued the merits of the community model. In the community model, all members work for the good and goals of the organization, as well as care about each other’s needs. Me caring about the health and feelings of a person I despise, simply because he works with me, is an indication of community model at work and ingrained deeply in me.