July 27th, 2004

Splinter: Sensei

A Significant Passing Comment

Yesterday had a noteworthy occurance but I haven't had a chance to write until now.

I work at a largish tech company's main campus. It's a collection of four three-story buildings with about a thousand people on site. But the buildings are actually designed with some aesthetic consideration rather than the bleakly efficient architecture of nearby industrial and commercial plazas.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a brief break after staring at my monitor for two hours straight willing a bug to reveal itself. (Didn't work.) I walked around the campus for a bit to stretch my legs. The campus is filled with wide walks, shady trees, and well-maintained planting beds. (If I remember to bring a camera to work, I'll post some pictures.) It's certainly more pleasant getting to work in the morning than when I worked in the converted warehouse.

What I'm saying is that it's really nice for a corporate campus and it cheered me up. So I decided to tell someone. I looked up the head of facilities, who happened to be in my building and in his cube at the time. I introduced myself and he had a trepidacious look of someone accustomed to being ambushed with complaints. I told him about my walk and thoughts; he was quite delighted. Although facility quality shows up on employee surveys, it seems that people very rarely deliver comments in person. After I left, he sent out an email to all of the maintenance and groundskeeping staff to let them know that they'd actually received an unsolicited compliment.

His secretary passed me in the break room at the end of the day. "You know, you really made his day!" she said. "You're a saint for taking the time to do that." And the thing is, I'm sure many employees think about it, it's just that no one takes the time to say it.

So that's my inspiring message. Take a couple minutes and deliver a random compliment to someone overlooked. It's time well spent.
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