In mid-December 2006 at my office, I got into an elevator with one of the executives who I’d never met. Making idle chat, he asked if I had any Christmas plans. I replied “no, I’m holding off for a couple of weeks before going to Costa Rica.”
A couple of years later, I again ended up in an elevator with the same exec, and another coworker that introduced us. “I remember you,” he said. “How did you like Costa Rica?”
I was shocked that he remembered, and flattered that he cared about his multitude of staff enough to remember such little things. I also realized that I’d be willing to work harder for this man. This attitude is how people get to that “multi-million dollar salary position.”
My version happened last night, at a much less executive level. I had to work late to supervise some workers rebuilding an office. One of the labourers looked familiar. While (he was) working away, we started chatting. “Didn’t you quit this job to go to university?” I asked.
“Yes, it didn’t work out.” He replied.
“A European Dentistry school, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah.” And that’s when he gave me a funny look. He was the one impressed and flattered, that someone up the ladder (one rung) had given him the respect. There’s often a divide between labour and management, and it’s important to try to cross it for everyone’s benefit.
It felt good to be ‘that guy’ yesterday.