For all practical purposes, I’ve been at my new job for 2-weeks. So, in other words, I’m extremely new. Many people are still calling me Ali (pronounced Mohammad Ali) because they are reading my nametag rather than Ali (pronounced Ali McBeal) which is my name.
My newness made it quite fun and funny to participate in my team’s farewell to our summer intern which was a send-off complete with UCLA cupcakes. Go Bruins!
It strikes me that work can be an extremely personal and an extremely impersonal place, depending on ones’ role and tenure.
A former boss of mine (and mentor) celebrated her 25th anniversary at our company and we threw a party which was attended by people from her phenomenal career past and present. It was such a deeply personal celebration.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, my friend who does a lot of freelance and temp work has laughed about how many times she’s found herself singing happy birthday to a stranger in an office kitchen.
As a “people person” it is no surprise that I love working with others. When I worked from a home office, I missed people. No one was there to share my horror over work’s scandalous moments. No one was there to high-five when I’d close a deal. There were no birthday treats or put luck lunches.
Now, I’m back in a cubicle and admittedly I’m hearing things, smelling things and seeing things that make my skin crawl. By my second day I had brought some high-quality noise-reducing headphones. By my second week I had a lavender essential oil mist to neutralize odors (even that was no match for a reheated enchilada – yuck!). At the end of two weeks, I’m readjusting to an office. I’ve quickly and successfully dulled the pain points.
Smelling that enchilada is a small price to pay to regain my cube neighbors and coworkers. I’m collaborating with people in meetings. I’m singing happy birthday. I’m eating cupcakes and wishing the intern well. I’ve got people again!
Sure, I’m about 24-years, 11-months and 2-weeks away from a silver anniversary with this company. I know that when that day comes, I’ll have a fat roster of people who have been important in my career to invite to my party. Because a stranger might be a friend I haven’t met yet.