I've gotta say I've fallen head over heels in love with my job this week. (I'm nothing if not fickle but apparently my reproductive organs claim it's my prerogative.)
The reason for this burst of starry-eyed affection is the vice president of the company. He's been working out of our office this past week or so, giving us leadership in a crisis. Our beloved general manager had a heart attack last week and is still in serious condition – we miss him terribly and hope, pray and wish he gets better SOON.
I never knew our vice president. Our company is a big one, encompassing most of Ontario, and the VP works in a city an hour away from me. I knew what he looked like. I'd seen him occasionally but usually his presence struck the fear of god into me. It was like, uh oh, HE's here – we're in trouble now! But, at the risk of sounding inane, he's WONDERFUL.
Every morning he brings his coffee, or his tea (Water? Hooch? Who knows? It's something in a mug!) and strolls casually through the entire building, saying hello to EVERYONE. Not just hello – he asks us how we're doing; how our projects are coming along. Heck, he even talks about American Idol with us! On Sunday he baked Montreal-style bagels with his own hands and brought them into the office along with real butter and honey. Yesterday he bought pizza for everyone at lunchtime. (I managed to avoid both treats – I appreciate the gesture immensely but I'm back on the Weight Watchers Wagon.)
The food was nice but was secondary compared to the fact he TALKED to us. It's easy, in a big corporation, to feel like you're a tiny mouse hiding in the corner of a gigantic building. There are so many levels of management; there are so many people. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle and feel you're not important; that your work isn't valued; that you have nothing to contribute.
This isn't anyone's fault but generally I feel like I'm hiding my light under a bushel basket. In the past I have worked for many small, independent newspapers where everyone helped do everything. There were no lines between editorial, or production, or sales, or circulation. I was a reporter/photographer most of the week; on Monday morning I was a darkroom technician; on Monday afternoon I was a graphic artist; and on Tuesday morning I had a paper route. On Wednesdays we had staff meetings where everyone got together to plan the next issue. We threw ideas out there; we got excited – it was fun! And we produced award-winning newspapers. Personally I won several newspaper association awards in writing and design categories. (There was no award for delivering papers – but there should be!)
Things are different in a big company. Sure, each of the departments have meetings but rarely does everybody in an office get together in the same room and hash out ideas. I understand that's hard to do but, honestly, you miss out on a lot of ideas when you don't involve everyone. You also risk dampening the enthusiasm of people who want to contribute but don't feel they're part of the team.
Our VP knows this. He knows that the simple act of talking with everyone brings out their best. And isn't that what every company man wants? Excited, enthusiastic employees who love their jobs?
I'm certainly loving mine.
Now excuse me – I've gotta get my butt moving or I'm gonna be late for work.