I work for a financial services firm, and as you might expect, they are very security conscious. We’re blocked from all social media on the company network; we can’t get to Yahoo Mail, or Gmail, or any other mail outside of the company’s corporate email; and there are about 27 layers of security when you use your laptop outside the office. Okay, I exaggerated a bit with the layers of security, but they take security seriously.
There is one security issue that I think takes things a little too far. Basically, you are to NEVER hold the door open for someone coming in to the building behind you, or to any other space that requires your security badge. They call this “Piggybacking” and we are to be ever vigilant about Piggybacking. I understand that if someone is coming behind you in full camouflage you may want to think twice before letting them in, especially if they’re carrying an assault rifle. Of if someone is not meeting the dress code, which is office casual, you may be wondering if they work with you. However, I take exception to letting the door slam in someone’s face.
In my family, we were taught to hold the door for people and not let it slam in their face, even open it and let them pass through, especially if they are carrying stuff. Back in the day, that was called being kind, considerate, dare I say, a gentleman! To be clear, if someone is 50 feet behind me, I’m probably not going to hold the door and wait for them unless there are extenuating circumstances. Like, they’re carrying 20 pizzas, or they’re on crutches, or in a wheelchair. Then, yeah, I’m going to hold that door for them. If it turns out the guy in the wheelchair is looking to get some secret information, he’s not going to get far – security is sitting just inside the door at all of our buildings. There have been multiple occasions where multiple people Piggybacked coming into work in the morning and guess who was asked to show their badge? Yup, it was me. I must just look like a security risk.
I have to admit that my parents were against Piggybacking, too, though of a different kind. I’m talking about the usual, kid version, especially when it was in the house. If we jumped on somebody’s back, invited or not, we were told pretty quickly to stop. This was a good thing because either something would get knocked over and occasionally broken, or someone would get knocked over and occasionally hurt. We weren’t supposed to be doing stuff like that in the house anyway, so it only made matters worse if there was any breakage or tears. We were supposed to know better.
I haven’t given anybody a physical Piggyback in years, not since my kids were small, but I still do it at work. Corporate anti-Piggybacking Policy or not, I hold the door for everybody! I don’t know why, but I get some strange looks from some people, like it’s annoying them. However, I also get some big smiles and nice Thank You’s from people, especially those with their hands full. Holding the door open for others is ingrained in my character, courtesy of my parents, who taught me that treating others kindly was more important than following a silly rule. If they were still here, I’m sure they would be okay with my indoor Piggybacking and would have big smiles, too.