Be The Change

On my way to the bus stop this morning, I saw that someone had parked a car2go in the middle of a construction zone, right next to a “No Parking” saw horse. There was a construction worker walking around the car, looking at it. (Looking for a phone number to call, I hoped.) As I walked past, I saw that the “Reserved” light was flashing. The car2go wouldn’t be there long. I also saw that someone had put a handwritten note on the windshield. (I guessed it was a note saying “Don’t park here” – or words to that effect.)

I thought to myself, as I continued walking: It was a shame that the person who parked that car2go there will never see that note.

I also thought: It was a shame that the person who picks up that car2go will probably get the blame (verbally or not) from the construction crew.

About a month ago, at work, our top boss held informal talk sessions with us employees. It was our chance to voice our opinions or concerns about the company. I spoke up.  I said that the atmosphere at our Downtown office is very different from when we were in Cascade. I emphasized that this was not a complaint, but merely an observation.

We were on two floors of the building in Cascade, just like we are now in Downtown. But in Cascade, our office had a large, two-story lobby, with a grand staircase connecting the floors. There was also an elevator directly to our second floor, but mostly, everybody passed through that central lobby. There was one, large lunchroom in Cascade, with no restaurants nearby.

In Cascade, I saw various people every day. I may not know their name, or what department they worked in, but at one time or another, I probably saw the whole company.

Now, in Downtown, our floors are separate. Our lobby has been replaced by a reception desk and a visitors’ waiting area. Each floor has its own lunchroom. People come into work, take the elevator to their own floor, walk directly to their desk, go out for lunch, and take the elevator back to the building’s lobby at the end of the day.

I told our top boss that there are people I saw at Cascade who I never see anymore. I don’t even know who’s still here and who isn’t. I pointed out that I have no reason to go to the other floor, so I don’t.

Our top boss replied that it was not the first time someone had made that observation, and added that the company might do something to remedy the situation.

“What are they going to do?” I wondered to myself, “Knock a hole between the floors and build a grand staircase?”

Today, the company did something to remedy the situation. We had a scavenger hunt. We were divided into teams by a random process – increasing the possibility that we’d be working with strangers – and were given a list of things to discover on both floors. (What color is the wall outside of so-and-so’s office? How many photographs are on the wall of the executive conference room? And so on.)

There were no prizes for finding everything on the list. It was just for fun – just a way to get us out our desks to see the whole company.

It was a lot of fun. It was a great solution. I’m glad I spoke up.

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