Last month BusinessWeek ran a story called The Secret Cult of Office Smokers. In the article, Joel Stein explored the benefits that smokers get as a consequence of their habit. I’ve heard a few times that smokers are among the best informed in an organization, but Joel takes the analysis to another level.
The benefits include, apparently:
– Career advancement, as a result of having a special bond with other smokers (clients, co-workers, the boss)
– It gives you an opportunity to meet new people, who you otherwise wouldn’t meet.
– Encouragement of cross-departmental collaboration, by meeting other smokers who aren’t on your team.
Joel concludes with:
“Have we lost too much and gained too little by kicking the smokers out onto the curb? At each office, out there far from where we can hear them, they’ve formed a little supergroup of cool, brave, overly social workers who help one another climb the corporate ladder. If you doubt this, consider that a smoker who was just a first-term senator a few years ago is now the President of the United States. If John Edwards had been a smoker, he might have met far more useful people than Reille Hunter.“
Like Joel, I’m not a smoker. Building off what Joel wrote, my question is how can we achieve these same benefits without the health costs? Is Twitter / Yammer / Socialcast the “new cigarette?”