Your fast-paced footsteps can be heard from four cubicles away, I recognize the pattern and intensity. You’re looking for a volunteer, and likely feeling hopeful, and doubtful, that anyone will bite.
As you reach my cube, I glance up just in time to see you look up from your phone. “Jane, do you have a minute? I need to run something by you,” and already you’re sorting through the files you were carrying, preparing to hand them off to me. Am I that transparent?
“What’s going on George? Need to pass off some projects?” I ask, as though you’d ever actually say no. Of course you want to pass them off, that’s why you’re at my desk. It’s not like you come by to talk about the weather. Again I can’t help but wonder why on we are still using file folders and paper charts when we should be using project tracking tools and email. But I’m glad our office is stuck in the 1990’s. If we were actually doing what we should, I wouldn’t have these drive-by favor requests. I know you dread them, but you don’t realize it’s the first conversation I’ve had with a person today. Not counting the cashier in the lunch line, though I really should count her.
My boss finally looks up and makes eye contact, “Jane, you always volunteer to stay late when the team is running behind. I know I ask you this too much, but we’re behind deadline again.”
Of course I don’t mind, I’d prefer to stay here and join the others. So of course I offer, though is it really an offer when it’s expected? “Have they already gathered in the conference room?” I ask as I begin gathering my things so I can join the recovery team.
“I think dinner orders are being taken as we speak, a few mentioned Chinese food,” George mentions as he’s already backing away, preparing to head out the door. He likes to rush home to his wife on the weekends. I can’t say I blame him.
It’s Friday night, and I’m eager to join my co-workers. A night spent in a cold conference room with a hot meal delivered is so much better than the alternative, heading home to my rented basement apartment, watching The Office on Netflix over a bowl of cereal.
“Fantastic, I’ll head over right now. We’ll have this caught up in no time,” I say, as we begin to head in different directions.
“I knew I could count on you. Have a great weekend Jane!” and your escape is complete underway.
So is mine.
Photo credit: Death to Stock Photo, altered to black and white.
*Note to the reader: Constructive Criticism is accepted and requested here! I had a goal in mind for this post, and I didn’t achieve it. If you have any thoughts you would like to share about how this could have been better, or what you would have done differently, please share! Feel free to comment below, or even write your own version as a response.