I've written maybe 5 entries specifically about work, which is kind of mind-boggling when I think about how many hours I've actually spent at work. Because so many.
So, for no reason other than my current "I should blog more, maybe with shorter posts" jag (and by "jag" I mean this is post #2) (woo), I just thought I'd share this one moment I had at work that still makes me laugh. But also maybe I'm just weird and it's not funny to anyone else. In which case, I apologize and will think twice before using the term "jag" again.
A long time ago, I worked for a boutique consulting firm. Every project was assigned a Senior Consultant and a Project Coordinator. In some cases, a project would be big enough to warrant more than one consultant, even though there'd still be only one Project Coordinator.
(Isn't this so fascinating?)
Once I'd been at the company a few months, I was assigned to my first real client. I, as competent rookie, was put on a ginormous project (a series of projects, really) involving a multi-million dollar Chinese holding company. The project directly involved the company CEO -- a billionaire himself, I learned, yes, billionaire, with a "b" -- and his senior strategic staff. Big, scary stuff.
(Even as I write this, a hive has formed on my chin. I'm not even kidding. That's what happens when I feel acute stress. And you can bet that I was a hivey wreck throughout that first project. If I can conjure memory-hives ten years later from the safety of my livingroom in Napa, you can imagine what kind of shape I was in by the end of that project.)
So okay. You have this major project and me as a first-time lone Project Coordinator. That sets the stage.
Next, add that our project team included a non-senior-level consultant. In fact, Marie was the only non-senior-level consultant on any project, because she was the only non-senior-level consultant in the company. They'd promoted her from the position of Project Coordinator for the first time in the company's history.
So sure, if you want to look on the one hand, the two of us were kind of hot-shots.
On the other hand, OH HEY. Kind of neither of us knows what the hell we're doing!
The project progressed okay for the most part, but the week before the first major client meeting, it was not smooth sailing. The weekend before the huge Monday meeting, Marie and I had to come into the office to get a lot more stuff done.
And this is what made me laugh, and love Marie, and think, Ah-ha! So THAT is what professionalism looks like when everything is falling apart!
I got into the office on Saturday morning and Marie was already there. She was at her desk in her office. She was focused, calm, and typing away at her computer.
Her mouse, however, was on the floor. Of the hallway. Outside her office door.
I approached her with trepidation.
"Is um? Hi? Is everything okay?" I asked.
"Yep, just working on my stuff," she replied.
"Is ah...your mouse--?"
"It was annoying me," she said, in a perfectly measured tone of voice, and she offered no further explanation.
Still, I found it gratifying. She wass clearly as stressed out as I was, she just expressed it by throwing her mouse into the hallway and continuing with her day.
And I think there's a lesson in there for all of us.
Do I know what that lesson is? No. But I DO know that coming upon your completely cool, calm, and collected colleague who's hurtled a piece of office equipment out of her office and into the hallway is damned funny, lesson or no.