A new starter to the department was shown around the office yesterday. She doesn't start for another couple of weeks, but she's clearly very keen and had taken a day off from her current job to be introduced to everyone and to help her get her bearings. She'll be working pretty closely with my team, so her guide made sure she spent a little bit of time getting to know us. My desk is located just opposite the director of the department, and he took a couple of minutes to welcome this new starter to the business. After some pleasant small talk about where she's working now, when she starts and how pleased she is to be joining us, the director then gestured to the desks around him:
"If you want to know what it's really like to work around here, you just have to ask any of these guys. Tim here will tell you what it's really like...."
At this point all eyes turn expectantly to me. This is clearly a golden opportunity for me to stoke the excitement and enthusiasm of this new join as she starts her new job, and also to make a good impression on both the director and several of the senior management team, including my boss, now all waiting with bated breath to hear my easy platitudes about how wonderful a place my office is to work and how we all have such a splendid time together.
I've been put on the spot here, for sure, but I'm certain I have the wit and imagination to come up with something suitable.
So, Tim, what's it really like around here?
".......um. It's..... alright."
Brilliant! Nicely played, I thought.
I was smart enough to feel the disappointment now hanging palpably in the air around me, so I sensed I somehow hadn't been forthcoming enough with my assessment and more needed to be said. Far be it from me to rain on anybody's parade.
"....but then, I do have a window seat."
Stick with me, kid, and I'll take you to the end of the world.
Read: The Case for Being Less Serious
2 days ago