I recently attended a conference for work where I had the privilege of visiting with peers from all across the country. There is so much to be learned by discussing the manner in which different agencies deal with the various issues that arise. It’s also fun to discover the many measures employed by our counterparts who live in different climates.
My favorite part of visiting with others in my field is discovering how different agencies interact within their own culture. Those who work in my office/shop enjoy a very casual and friendly atmosphere where we all like each other. We often bring in components of a meal and cook them at work to enjoy family style. It’s valuable social interaction that builds our team’s strength. Other agencies don’t necessarily enjoy the same dynamic.
I was visiting with a lady who lives and works in my state about team morale. I told her about how I bake a birthday cake or pie for everyone in my building on or near their birthdays. I made a bacon wrapped meatloaf for one coworker this year. I laughingly told the lady that I’m afraid I may have spoiled him.
She shared that her agency doesn’t do birthday cakes. She said they used to take up a collection and order pizza for the birthday person, but more people consumed the pizza than chipped in to pay for it, so there wasn’t enough to go around. Then she told me a story that I couldn’t resist sharing.
She is a nice lady who likes to bring treats to share with her coworkers. One day, she brought in a big tub of peanut clusters. She left them on the break room counter, so everyone could enjoy them. During the afternoon, she felt the need for a little snack and went to the break room for a peanut cluster only to find them gone. The entire container had been stolen.
She knew that the large tub of candy couldn’t possibly be empty yet, so she went hunting. She looked around and asked several people if they’d seen the missing candy. She found her tub of peanut clusters in a coworker’s office sitting right in the middle of his desk where he could have them all to himself.
She was taken aback by the turn of events at first. Then she got mad. She marched right into his office without knocking and snatched her peanut clusters off his desk. He told her that he brought them to his office because he really liked them.
Her response couldn’t have possibly been better. She said, “Everyone else likes them, too. That’s I bought them and put them in the break room. If I didn’t want everyone to have them, I would have left them on MY desk!”
Although her story made me laugh, it also made me appreciate the relationships I enjoy with my coworkers. Just today, one coworker bought the fixin’s for tuna salad and another one fried up some Spam. Those two people fed everyone in the office. My contribution was some sliced cheddar cheese that I happened to have in my lunchbox. They provided everything else.
The beautiful part is that nothing was planned at all. It just happened. One person decided he wanted tuna salad and bought enough for everyone. The other guy decided he wanted something hot, and fried enough Spam for everyone. There was nothing formal or contrived. When the dishes were ready they simply invited everyone to partake.
We also enjoy candy in my office. Three of us have candy bowls on our desks. Mine has been empty for a long time, but one of us usually has a bowl that’s fairly full. I brought a huge bag of saltwater taffy in today. I filled my candy bowl and put the rest in my drawer. My coworkers know if they want some taffy to help themselves. No one would ever even contemplate taking the whole bag for solitary consumption.
I’ve always appreciated the casual family atmosphere I enjoy at work. However, after talking to others like my new friend, I now see our relationship as a precious treasure. Yes, life is good. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.
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