Home > College, Jobs, Musings > No Power = Staff Development

No Power = Staff Development

Yesterday, I witnessed something I have never witnessed in a work place (I’m not even sure how common it is). About two hours into work, the power went out. Normally, at home or elsewhere, the power comes right back on, a minor failure (unless it’s winter). However, try as it might, the lights flickered for a second here and there, but it always ended in darkness.

Since most of the projects I was working on for the law firm needed the computer, I wasn’t sure what the office would do until the power came back on. Most of us gathered together in one of the rooms and talked, while one of the lawyers suggested that if the power didn’t return in 30 minutes, she would bring us out for lunch in the park. It never passed my mind that she meant the firm would pay for my lunch, and I started to worry about how little money I had since my first paycheck won’t be in until next week. Recent and current college students know what I mean: you are barely scraping by as is without having to buy an unexpected lunch (I pack my lunches).

Thirty minutes rolled by, and we ended up getting ready to go for lunch. I commented to one coworker that I would bring my lunch since I was slighly broke. He said, “Don’t worry about it, the firm is paying.” I felt struck by astonishment. The place I work for would be paying for my lunch and it wasn’t a special occasion? This has never happened, but I haven’t worked in many offices, mostly retail, where, apparently, my choice in store determined how much I would receive (friends of mine worked at other retail stores and got bonuses for good monthly sales, although they weren’t paid commission, and given nice parties). Not that the retail places I worked were bad. On the contrary, one place I worked had some of the best coworkers a person could ask for. I digress….The point is, I was astonished something such as paid lunch could happen!

One of my coworkers recorded a message for our phone system (although, with the back up power, the phones would shut off in 30 more minutes). For the message, she said the office was closed for “staff development.” I wondered what else we would be doing while at lunch if we really were doing staff development, whatever that meant.

It turns out that we didn’t do anything specific to develop, but as a new employee, I was given a chance to start relationships with my coworkers and see their personalities outside work. We had a great time with many laughs. I couldn’t help but think about how my college degree helped me get here: to a place where having no power at work meant going out with my coworkers for some staff development.

Not only did I get to learn a little about everyone, but I was able to see how interesting of people they are outside the constraints of work. I learned that one of the lawyers had gone to school for Russian Studies at one point, which intrigued me since I am now reading more Russian literature. I learned how some of my coworkers came to work at the office and the ups and downs they have had while there, and I learned how to relax a little around the people I work with.

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