Among the Corporate hot topics of transparency and open concept design, is also my inability to keep a secret. I stepped onto the building elevator and saw a colleague from another glass floor having difficulty with her access badge. I just smiled, waited, helped and then told her it happens to all of us.
“You’re so patient and happy. Are you always like this when you go to work?”, she asked as the doors opened to my floor.
I laughed as I stepped off the elevator. I am usually one of the first to arrive, so despite not wanting anyone in my office to know, I looked back at her as the elevator started to close and yelled, “Actually, it’s my birthday today!”
Her surprised smile as the doors shut made my day. It also felt good to say out loud. I reached for my second access badge, opened the door and stepped into the work area. On this side of the tower is a bank management training program. To my chagrin, everyone was already there.
One of the young co-ed women looked at me with a clever smile and said, “Wow! It’s your birthday. Enjoy!”
This was followed by the two people in her group also chiming in to say, “Happy Birthday!”
I stopped in my tracks realizing I had unintentionally thrown my own party.
The rest of the group, about 30 in all, turned or swiveled in my direction and wished me a loud “Happy Birthday!” in unison. One guy even gave me a high five as I started to walk past the group. Others joined in as I thanked them all with an embarrassed laugh and continued to the other end of the floor.
I felt like I’d just won the biggest Corporate account or hit the winning basket for the company team. That moment was an embarrassingly fun way to jump start the day.
My own team wasn’t there yet, had no idea it was my birthday and didn’t see this happen. I signed onto my computer with a new secretly knowing grin on my face. With the open concept design, I was not only transparent, I had hit my own glass ceiling.