WORK + LIFE
Help my supervisor.
It was on a bright summer day
actually a far too beautiful day to go to the office. Nevertheless, I set off in a good mood for work, which I still enjoy after almost 30 years. This is certainly also due to the fact that I have nice colleagues and a wonderful boss who is always up for a good time. Most of the time the door to his office is open, as it was on that one day.
I started like every morning
to dig through my flood of emails before I decided it was time to get my first coffee. On my way to the coffee kitchen, I always have to pass my boss’ office. I greeted him friendly and he asked me, just as friendly, to bring him two coffees.
Of course I always like to bring my boss a coffee,
but jokingly I pretended not to understand him. I looked at him questioningly and held my hand behind my ear like a shell. Maybe I should have been puzzled that he ordered two coffees, instead of just one for himself. He grinned and asked me into his office for a moment.
My shock must have been written all over my face,
for the other gentleman grinned as well, who sat with him in the office. “May I introduce to you… My supervisor and deputy managing director. He will be with us in the office for the next 18 months.”
Oh no - now that' s not true! I turned bright red and could hardly get a word out.
The manager, an elderly gentleman, seemed to be very amused about my embarrassment and put one more on top. He slowly, almost with pleasure, grabbed his ear, took out his hearing aid and handed it to me:
"Try this, it might help with communication."
I would have preferred to sink into the ground. Now I was not only tomato red in the face, I was also feeling sick, and I don’t even remember what I replied, surely it was not very witty.
Anyway, I hurried to get two coffees and tried to concentrate on my work afterwards. But it was hopeless, my thoughts were constantly revolving around this incredibly embarrassing situation and what the consequences might be. After I had felt that I hadn’t been productive for five hours, he suddenly appeared at my door. I broke out in a sweat again and I feared the worst.
"May I sit down for a moment?" he asked.
I tried not to let my voice show that I was close to a nervous breakdown. “But of course” I replied, pointing to an empty chair. Of course, my mood had not escaped his attention and he had that grin on his face again.
Then he started with some small talk and told me about himself and his person. Slowly I freed myself from my shock, this ominous superior actually seemed to be a human being.
Now he began to respond to the scene of this morning.
He assured me that he would very much appreciate the fact that there is such a relaxed and pleasant working atmosphere in our company, so that you can allow yourself a little joke with the boss. Infinitely relieved, although still a little incredulous, I looked my boss’ boss in the face. Of course I hadn’t remembered his name either. He certainly also noticed my easing tension and kept on talking:
What more could I say, I smiled back and thanked him.
The following 18 months became a wonderful time for me. I enjoyed going to work every day, a great cooperation with my two bosses was established and I have never been asked for advice from a higher level so often. In the course of time, a friendly relationship even developed, so that even today, despite the long distance, we still meet occasionally in the middle.
Since this experience, I don’t let myself be intimidated so easily just because someone has rank and name.
I don’t bend or disguise myself just because my counterpart is sitting on a higher horse than I am. Only when I know someone can I assess and judge them.