Had this sort of get-to-know kind of lunch at work today with the Executive Director. She apparently has these every so often, as a way of meeting employees other than the regulars she usually sees at the senior staff meeting. I used to go to the senior staff meeting, actually, but haven’t since we’ve gotten the ITAG consultants.
The regular cast at these meetings seems to be Marty, Matt, Rodney and LaFaundra. The guests today were me, Ryan, Renee, and, unfortunately absent at the last minute, one of the Julies or Julias, I’m not sure now which. But, since she wasn’t there, doesn’t really matter.
It was a good chance to meet Renee, though. She’s quite tall and striking, and then it was funny to see how reserved and soft-spoken she turns out to be. She’s from Brooklyn and went to the University of Maryland.
Marty spoke of her first career as a dental assistant in Nebraska. Matt and Marty both have dads who are dentists. Rodney and LaFaundra were both born in DC. Ryan is still happily married.
We have pizza. LaFaundra had sent an email beforehand asking if there was anything that we “cannot” eat on pizza. I replied that I wasn’t sure if being a vegetarian meant that I cannot, or just will not, eat meat. I thought also about mentioning being Catholic and that it was Lent, and under the old rules that meant no meat since it’s Wednesday. But I left that one alone. And she ordered a veggie pizza as one of the pizzas anyway.
Later I went downstairs to re-load TIMSS onto LaFaundra’s laptop. After I was done with that I stepped over to the Blood offices right behind the conference room and found where Renee sits. And she sits with Malaika, whom I got to know a little bit at the holiday party last year. We talked some more about what Renee had brought up at lunch, about job titles and experience.
I encouraged them to follow up with the director of their department and even with Matt and Marty, telling them that changes don’t just happen. Somebody has to make them happen. Both Marty and Matt seemed very receptive to what Renee had said, and Ryan had some good input on the subject as well. But Malaika seemed to indicate that she would wait to see what happens, now that Renee had brought up the subject. I urged her to not now just expect something to happen, but to follow up and try to make something happen.
They, or at least Malaika, seemed to have some sort of impression that I was in some way more important to the organization than I in fact am, because of being up on the seventh floor maybe. I made very clear that I was just a regular joe, exceptin’ for being more like twice their age and sagely wise and that’s why they should listen to me.