Is it politically correct to ask ‘what are you reading?’ in the workplace?

April 24, 2008 § Leave a comment

When I walked by the copy machine yesterday, a co-worker had a book splayed open and face down. Hey, what are you reading? I asked.

It’s about cooking with herbs, she answered. She and her son were working on some recipes together. He’s a chef. She needed a copy of a gourmet dish.

What are you reading? she asked me and I told her. She didn’t say “of course.” She just smiled.

Another co-worker was busy at a worktable nearby. We turned to ask if she kept a book in her purse or in her car? Yes. She was reading “Traveling in Countries of Anarchy.”

We chatted a few minutes, then went on about our business, having enjoyed a moment of book bonding.

I couldn’t resist asking three others what was on their reading plate: one had a prayer journal – did that count? Absolutely.  One came to my office and showed me her book; it looked like a war romance, something she picked up at the library, she explained. Judging by its cover, it looked like a page turner; we all love such books. And the third emailed to say she was working on a handsewn craft and spending all her time trying to finish the product which is to be a gift. Being on a creative plane always always “counts.” It’s a gorgeous project.

The coolest thing: everyone was willing to share their ‘reads.’ 

It’s good to talk about these things, to have a glimpse of real life amidst the corporate walls.

What are they reading (or making) where you work?

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