Last week I walked into a meeting with my laptop and my stainless steel cup of organically grown, fresh-brewed morning mohka java. I entered the meeting room, looked for my colleagues, and exchanged pleasantries about how the summer has been so far.
There was one seat left at the round table that had become “ours”, now filled with six people who know one another and a tiny woman whose appearance gave away that she wasn’t from around here. The empty seat was beside her.
I plopped down beside her and offered a greeting; for whatever reason I was drawn to conversation with this quiet stranger who had boldly placed herself in a group of people who already knew one another. We then began the road down the get-to-know-you Q&A. Turns out she is from LA…via Goa…via Zanzibar. I walked in with no idea who I would be teamed up with for the project, and wound up with a cross-country collaboration with someone who had come across the world and lived through a revolution. We became friends as we combined our efforts to complete a difficult assignment.
I recommend getting to your next conference early and working with someone you don’t know because you learn so much. You’ll see your colleagues back at the office.
And happy birthday to “dwee”!