Sunday, December 28, 2008

Opening Doors

At my office, there is a door separating the hallway and lunchroom. This door is security-enabled and a key card is required, which is not a big deal if you have one with you. This door has a fairly large portrait window so one can see who is on the other side up to the shoulder level.

I always have a cup of tea in the afternoon to give me a jolt through the last hour or so. I had my oversized mug of hot tea (Stash Chai Spice brewed with milk, filled to the top) and I was holding a notepad and pen in my other hand. I was walking towards the door, very steadily holding my cup in front of me. Two associates, “Jim” and “Mark,” appeared on the other side of the door. I waited a few steps away from the door, anticipating they would open the door for me. However, they were waiting for me to open the door so they could enter without using a key card. When I realized they were waiting, I decided I would go first. I managed to precariously open the door, keeping the mug in front of me, trying not to spill. They saw me with my hands full and said, “Oh!” Jim held the door open for me, allowing me to pass and we all said thanks to each other.

Ok, now you’ve read this far and are thinking, “Yeah, so what? You didn’t even spill the tea. What kind of blog is this?”

Stay with me on this one.

This incident reminded me of how we deal with others and our expectations. We can see each other through the window, but only half way. We can’t see the whole picture. They don’t know if I have a hot cup of tea in hand. I don’t know if they even have their key cards with them. Yet, we wait for the other person to make the first move, wanting them to accommodate our needs.

I could have stood there and refused to move with my hands full of my current responsibilities (i.e., hot tea, notepad), while Jim and Mark may not even have the capability to accommodate me (i.e., no key card). On the other side of the door, Jim and Mark probably are baffled by my slowness and it isn’t until I open the door do they see the whole picture on my side. If we all waited until the other moved, it would have led to frustration and unnecessary delays.

When dealing with others, we do have to make the first move sometimes. It isn’t until we open the door can we see exactly what the situation is on the other side.

- To N & R

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a nice way to word this. What you wrote rang so true for me. thanks.