I’ve been in a strange place in my head recently. I’m loving finding out how people are multifaceted.
Which makes me think of someone I worked with: Dan B. Long ago when I worked at IDC in the Special Projects group, I had a project manager who was a certified Bob Ross painter. He also raised dahlias and liked to cook. He had a great sense of humor and saved my sanity a few times, something PMs are not generally known for. Looking at him, a very corporate-looking man in his 50s, I never would’ve guessed it. These details came out as we spent time getting to know each other over the course of our projects. He was a civil engineer, one of my favorite disciplines, and a really nice guy. He snuck chocolates to all the admin staff without anyone knowing. But we knew! And loved him for it. IDC was not a company known for “atta boys” or timely reviews resulting in pay raises. Designing and building fabs was a competitive business and deadlines tight; we kowtowed to it. The general company motto was “no news is good news”. Engineers here only spoke up when things weren’t going well. Dan made sure people knew they were doing well. Dan’s kindness made his small team move mountains for him and our client, WSC.
One time, when we were at some project celebration, Dan strolled up to me and showed me a card.
“Susan, tell me what you think of this,” he said.
I read it. It was funny, but not the kind of funny I liked. It was corny. Like knock-knock joke brand humor.
“It’s funny,” I acquiesced, still in my people-pleasing 20s.
“Now this one,” and he handed me another.
This one was hilarious. It was more subtle. I have no recollection of what it was about, but I do remember almost snorting.
Dan went on to expound on how he had found these 2 cards representing different types of humor. The first one, the corny one, the engineers loved. The second one the architects and designers loved. He had done his own brand of market researching within our company based on two greetings cards.
“Since you have a music degree, you fall in the ‘artsy’ group, too,” he concluded. I remember thinking, Artsy?! All I do is file, ship and copy things!
It’s kind of funny to think about now. Our projects involved several facets – scopes of work, schematics, design development, all the way through construction. All the disciplines participated: civil, structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, life safety, telecom. Process/chemical fit in there somewhere, too. The campuses for each of these projects usually involved several buildings as well. These men and women needed to come together to create a system of buildings using their expertise, working lock-step with each other. Together, they made up a complete facility.
Dan stumbled on a fundamental difference in people. Was it his own well-roundedness which precipitated this discovery? Who knows. Of course, he didn’t take into account people with *no* sense of humor. IDC certainly had some of those. But I’m sure there’s a card for that.