I thought of Brenda and Mike today (they’re explained below) because my work ‘situation’ right now reminds me of them. I am enjoying the extra odd, somewhat dark, humor that comes out of these stressful situations.
My friend J – who I work with now – made a somewhat dark joke. At work you can ‘self-nominate,’ that is choose to be one of the ones to get fired. A group of us walked over to McDonald’s and Jake said he could jump in front of a car and yell, “self-nominated!!!” Another friend joked that we should do a roast of our software product if we do get canned. Pretty geeky joke but it cracked me up.
I worked with a small team for about a year and a half. It was my first job right out of college, and this was not the case for them. I was junior to each of them by about twenty years – this varied person to person, but that’s a good amount to say for the average age difference.
I took a while to get comfortable working with them for two big reasons: I was their junior in age, which meant also in experience. Secondly, I don’t know what to do with my sense of humor in a work-environment, so I clam up even more than usual. Which, between you, me, and anyone willing to read this, that’s a lot of clamming up.
Eventually I was able to crack jokes and be myself somewhat. This was especially true with two of the co-workers: Brenda and Mike.
Budget cuts forced our part of the large program we were working on to end. Two senior developers (that is, software engineers, or programmers, or coders, or code monkeys, or socially tactless buffoons, or whatever you want to call them) left pretty quickly after we found out we’d be ending. This left a strain on the rest of the team to close out our product. During this time I got to be much more comfortable and jokes-y with Brenda and Mike. I’d say it was one of those bonding under harsh situations kinds of things.
That is, harsh according to corporate America standards. Not really harsh in the grand scheme of things, just frustrating with job uncertainty and working overtime. Yes, that’s right, working overtime to make sure we do a good job to end our work. Ironic in a corporate-humor-cynical-guy kind of way.
Brenda and I moved to a new location and were sitting pretty close to each other. During this time our main job was to find a new job within a certain time limit. Job searching doesn’t take that much time, though, so every day we’d chat a bit about nothing. I was a big fan of hearing about her son, a senior in high school, and her daughter, a freshman in high school. It was like getting the inside scoop from a mom’s perspective – something I can’t really do with my mom since she’s my mom.
One day we were talking about visits to the eye doctor (I had just gotten a new pair of glasses), and earthquakes (I have no idea). Then this thought came to me, “can you imagine if you were having one of those eye surgeries and an earthquake happened?”
Brenda was amazed. She had not thought of that. She told me that she tends to say things like that to her family and their response is always along the lines of, ‘geez, why’d you go there?’ They didn’t think of the worst-case scenarios like she did.
That moment, after working with Brenda for a year and a half, where I thought of a bizarre worst-case scenario, was probably when Brenda thought the most of me.
And, possibly worst, I’m pretty proud of that.