Filler

I am going to ask a hypothetical question based on an actual conversation that took place in my house.

Say you have a 10am work meeting. People start arriving (either in person or Zoom) at 9:55. Maybe five of ten people are there.

Do you sit in silence and wait for the meeting to begin?

or

Do the people engage in idle conversation?

If you choose to have idle conversation, what do you choose to talk about?

Are there any topics that should be off limits during these times?

What about sports? In these pre meeting downtimes, is sports an acceptable topic, or is it too narrowly focused for general population?

In my most recent book clubs, both on Zoom and in person, we filled the down time talking about the weather. I know there are a thousand jokes centered around talking about the weather, but is there a real reason why we use it as a fallback- because it is comparatively safe to discuss with people you may or may not know well?

When we think of meetings we usually think of work related, but obviously you can have a meeting about anything. Do you have different types of conversation depending on whether or not the meeting is social or business?

Inquiring minds want to know: pre meeting chit chat- yay or nay? What’s the skinny?

The Intern- The Reality

My lovely friend Anne asked if I would post an update about how my Daughter is feeling about her internship.  As she has reached the halfway point of her four week stint, I have prepared some random thoughts- If I am quoting something, it might not be the exact quote, but a reasonable representation.

Day 1: Daughter arrives home at 5:30, plops into living room chair with a grunt. (honestly I thought she was going to ask for the evening paper, a cocktail and her slippers) “Wow.  Working a job is physically exhausting.” (Cause you know she’s spending her summer in a mine hauling up coal- not in an air conditioned office a block from the subway)

Day 2: Work really is tedious.  You just do the same thing for eight hours.” (No?!? Say it isn’t so!  Tedious?)

Day 3:I don’t know if they’re properly utilizing my skills. ” (OK – first off- what skills?  You’re a rising Senior in High School.  Did you think they were going to ask calculus questions or to analyze a poem? and secondly, she was asked to work on the new website, and she’s working on a project that she will have authorship on- seriously?  I know people with bona fide jobs without that much responsibility)

Day 4: “At school they try to make learning fun and try to think of things to stimulate us.  That’s just not how it is at work.  Maybe school should give us a little reality check as to how life actually works.  Maybe we have to learn that life is not always fun.” (OK- I don’t have much to add to that)

Day 5:”Some of these kids are so smart.  The things they think about and talk about are just amazing.  The conversations are so well thought out”

Day 6: “I realize that I’m not being challenged by my peers at school.  We talk about u tube videos. These kids are crazy intelligent.  They don’t even know who Bethany Mota is, yet they know the head of every country.” (yes- my daughter goes to a public high school with a 2.6% acceptance rate and is nationally ranked- and she is a study nerd- but apparently she is lagging)

Day 7: “The first few days everyone went out of their way to dress nice.  Now we all realize no one notices what we wear. They just keep telling us to learn to code cause then we will always be employed.”

Day 8: “I realized today that not only an I being shortchanged intellectually at school, I’m also being short changed at home.  Really- you guys need to step up your game.” (Gee- this is what you say to the people about to finance your most probably expensive education? Not such a smart statement…)

Day 9: “G (head person at place where she is working) is just amazing.  I can’t believe how much she fits into a day, and how many things she has accomplished since taking leadership of X. It’s so inspiring to see someone take responsibility for what they are doing, and actively work to make things better and continue on their mission statement. And she takes time to talk and interact with the interns.  She makes us feel like what we think, say and do matter.  And she’s a good person. And you know, really really smart.  She went to “dream school” for graduate studies. 

Day 10: “A new group of interns started today.  They looked so scared.  I wonder if that’s how I looked my first day.” Because after two weeks she is a seasoned pro…

It’s funny how quickly she has assimilated into the corporate culture.  I watch her in the morning as she drinks her coffee and scans the news headlines to see what is happening in the world.  She dresses in her tailored outfits that she has cobbled together from her closet and mine, tosses a granola bar and water bottle into her messenger bag, making sure she has an umbrella and sunglasses cause NYC in the summer could go either way.  She’s broadened her horizons a little, has met some amazing students from High Schools, Colleges and Grad schools.  She has learned a little of the reality of bureaucracy, and waste and empty promises- things that you don’t learn in school. She is learning to navigate an unknown world and she is not only surviving but thriving.  She’s tired and challenged and happy.  And I’ll take that.  Challenged and happy are pretty good things to be.