Thursday, April 28, 2005

Awkward Silence

I work for a FTSE 100 company. Based in the French office but on a European team I have a fair inkling of who the most senior people are globally - I've seen them in photos and met the old chairman once for a smile and handshake when I lived in the States. But 99.5% of the time I am a little ant on the ant farm.

However, yesterday, as I was rushing to get a sandwich for lunch from the downstairs café to eat at my desk (how very un-French of me!) I realised that I was stood waiting for the lift with the French CEO and the Worldwide CEO. Just the three of us.

WW CEO must have been on a day visit - I've seen him once before and he's a very stony faced man. I have smiled and said "Bonjour Monsieur" to the French CEO occasionally in the corridor. But this is a large country office and he doesn't know me from any other ant.

As the lift arrived I had a quick panic "should I leave them in the lift together, or should I join them?". I realised I would look pretty stupid if I didn't get in. So I rode the 6 floors down in the glass lift in a very awkward silence. The French CEO pointed out the Sacré Coeur in the distance to the WW CEO and then we continued in silence.

Six floors seemed to go by very slowly. When we got to the bottom, Monseiur CEO gestured me out first, said 'Bon Appetit' and I scurried off.

I hope their meeting went better than the awkwardness that flooded that lift. But it gave me something to laugh about later and realise I quite like being a little ant.

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