OK, before I write this post I want to go on record here that I truly like my job and the company I work for. I am working for an Insurance company in Washington State, specifically with the claims department. I grew up here, I am the claims cowboy, and I like what I do.
Nor is my post a reflection on the people I work with. I get along with everyone, they are very nice and very competent, and one I care about a lot. She and I have been through a lot together over the years. We know we can count on each other, and we never have to worry about the other one getting the project done
That being said, it was a very strange day. To explain why, I have to back track a bit. On Saturday, some people we used to work with had a gathering at Gasworks Park nothing major, or fancy, just basically a picnic. (by the way, they had deli meat and pretzel bread. Oh my gawd that was good! I recommend it!) Sorry I digressed.
There were 9 or 10 of us there. We were sitting around, just catching up in person (over and above what we learn from Facebook and each other’s blogs) when suddenly it happened. I have no idea what was said, or who said it (OK it was probably me) but someone’s mind went into the gutter, causing a completely inappropriate comment to be made, and the next thing I knew we were laughing so hard we were crying!
With this group there are no boundaries. For example, D is a 5 foot nuthin African-American woman, who is an extremely talented curriculum designer, accomplished photographer, and world traveler. Trust me, she would hurt anyone who disrespected her in any way (after I beat the crap out of him!) But, when we worked together, I could refer to her as my “little brown crayon” and she would giggle up a storm.
Why, because we had mutual respect, admiration and true affection for each other. She and I used to joke that we’d see each other, and one of us would make a completely gutter comment within 30 seconds. We worked hard, did amazing work, and laughed and joked all day long. If EVER either of us went too far the other would’ve said so immediately. I am happy to say, there was never a need for that discussion.
Sadly, this team has, as happens in the corporate world, broken up and split off to a myriad of other companies. Thanks to social media, we do keep tabs on each other.
That brings me to today. I had a lot to get done. So I broke out the iPod and had the music cranked. Part way through the day, I realized I hadn’t spoken to anyone outside of email or Lync. So I took off the iPod for a bit. No lie, you coulda heard pin drop. Everyone was working hard, but there was no talking, no, laughing, sure as hell wasn’t any inappropriate comments being bantered about.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes this group can be hilarious. Last week M and B showed up to work in identical outfits. Gray slacks and red polo shirt. You could tell neither guy was happy about it. N noticed and yelled “Form of an Icicle!” Look up the Wonder Twins from the old Super Friends cartoon). I laughed long and loudly.
It’s just that these occurrences are rare.
Now it could be that I am still the new guy. I’ve only been there since April. Or that I am loud when the rest aren’t. Or that this is just a very nose to the grind stone group. Or, like the rest of the world, we are trying to do more with less. They just don’t laugh as much.
It made me a little sad though. I miss the days of side-splitting laughter while working long hours to get the impossible done. We ALWAYS made our deadlines, even if we were half dead ourselves at the end. It proved to me that you can truly have fun at work.
Like I said, I love my job, and I really like working at the same place as my wife. We cheer each other up on bad days. But just once, I wish I felt OK coming up with an off-color remark, or just be completely stupid. I think those days are behind me now. Maybe we just need to have more picnics!