Hey Billy, Say Hi To Your Mother For Me.

by Joy Monger

I always wanted to be the type of boss who knew everyone’s names and their wives names and their kids’ nicknames, even the “little people” and the people no one else pays attention to. You know, the person who when they retire, even the janitor has something nice to say about how so-and-so always asked about their health problem or their grandchildren. Or the type of boss who could have a conversation with the exectuves about their favorite ball team and later with the receptionist about his cat.

Unfortunately I am painfully shy and pretty socially awkward. And I’ve never enjoyed staying in one place for long.

So actually making eye contact with folks in the hall takes work, let alone asking them if they perhaps want to make up a secret handshake that we’ll do every time we see each other in line for the cafeteria.

I care about people. But I’m not great with people.

So even though I always wanted to be the coworker who made everyone feel welcome and at ease and valued, I was pretty sure I was destined to be the coworker who didn’t make people feel much of anything at all. (One staffer recently called me an enigma…enigmas don’t make people feel warm and fuzzy.)

But I just celebrated my fourth anniversary with my company.  I am happy to report that I know the janitor. And she calls me hita and I ask about her father who is on dialysis. And the gal down the hall is bringing me some plants from her garden and invited me to come see her singing group. The receptionist just told me about his cat. I can walk down the hall and joke with people the whole way down. Legitimately joke.  And people know that when I do the robot at work it’s because I’m funny and quirky, not because I’m a weirdo.

It’s happening. Slower maybe than I’d like, but it’s happening.

I don’t think anyone will ever describe me as debonair or charismatic, but they might say that they knew I cared about them. And I would be really happy to be known as the kind of co-worker that made people feel cared for. Plus I am still working on my secret handshake, just in case.

Also, watch this video. It’s funny.