I've been in the professional workforce now for almost 19 years. During that time, I've been fortunate to work with a great number of amazingly talented and amazingly good people. Its hard to look back at a career that has spanned even this relatively short amount of time and pick out times that were exceedingly special, but this one definitely stands out.
It was Christmas of 2011. Just a little over a year prior, my team had been at its smallest point during a week when I had only one direct report. In the following year, my team had ballooned to around 20 people as I took over several other departments and went on a hiring spree. It was a busy but good time, building an A caliber team.
At the same time, our company was renovating the offices as they had been in heavy use for over a decade and were showing their wear. Part of this was adding a museum of company history in place of the seating area in the company lobby. Because of that change, the furniture from the lobby had to go somewhere and my team's open space 'inherited' it.
My initial view was one of annoyance; I liked that open space and didn't want it cluttered up with furniture, but that annoyance quickly went by the wayside. The area outside my cubicle became a lobby where my team came to hang out and wait to speak with me. I saw immediately how people in line ended up solving their own problems by talking with their coworkers, cutting down on my need to be involved in the questions. The presence of this unwanted furniture ended up being a blessing in disguise.
It became a joke that you could find my team holding informal meetings over in my lounge. That's where the idea for the sign came from; my team decided that the name needed to be official, so it was given to me for Christmas. It seems like a small thing and it was meant as a joke, but it meant more to me than they will ever understand.
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