Working at a Fortune 500 company like JLS Solutions definitely has its perks. For instance, there is an abundant supply of coffee and tea and milk in the kitchen to keep me going throughout the day.
Also, despite her criticisms on fashion, Mrs. Potts is very generous in keeping a positive work environment. On some Fridays, Mrs. Potts buys a huge batch of bagels with cream cheese for the entire office. She would also let the staff have the leftover pastries and cookies from the users’ training classes.
From my observations, food appeared to be a strong networking tool as it brought employees together to talk to each other from different departments. This gave me an idea.
I’ve been trying to get to Tyson to talk to me about anything beyond work or at least open up. Whenever I asked him about his weekend plans or what he did in the past weekend, he said either nothing or was working his second job in a very short answer….okay…I get that he does not want to mix his work life with his personal/social life. But, is he really that boring? I mean he does not have to tell me in full detail what he did on his weekend. Whenever I tell him or any other co-worker about my weekend, I obviously give the “PG” version like “I went apple picking with my friends,” “I took Phillipe out to the dog park”, or “I went shopping”. Tyson is definitely toughest cookie to crack open in this office. I’ve had better luck establishing leverage and camaraderie with other male workers in the office. They tell me sweet stories about their children, where they took their wives out, or they fixed up the house. On top of that, the other male co-workers especially Lumiere and Simon and Duncan are very charismatic and have outgoing personalities. Chip, who works closely with Tyson, even makes an effort to talk me and lets me learn more about him. I obviously don’t expect to be BFFs with all of them, but hey, it does not mean we can’t have casual conversations and network.
I’ve had to find out more about Tyson from other co-workers. Frankie told me he currently lives at home with his parents to save money (while this is seen as a stigma…it has become a growing norm especially in my generation…thank you student loans). His second job is working at some sports club nearby. Tyson has been working at JLS for two years. He went to school in Connecticut and majored in business management. Finally, Tyson is a big Red Sox fan (who in Boston isn’t?).
But all this information is not good enough…then talking to the actual person. I don’t know why but I find myself wanting to learn more about him. Tyson is quite a mysterious character. Maybe because most of the guys I know including Ben, are very confident and can easily open up about themselves. But Tyson, it seems like he built a wall in front of him and he’s hiding something.
Anyways back to the idea that food brings people together, I was walking back to the office during my lunch break when I came across this cupcake store, Sweet. Being a total sweet-tooth and self-identified chocaholic, I immediately made a little pit-stop and went in. They had a wide array of cupcakes from lemon ginger cupcakes to chocolate vegan cupcakes. They even had a pink lemonade flavor cupcake with straw! It was so hard to contain myself to buy a cupcake for myself. Then one particular cupcake caught my eye. It was a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting with blue and red sprinkles and a decorated topping of a face of a red sox player. I thought to myself, hmm…maybe Tyson would like this. So I bought one and had it placed in one of their special boxes.
“I was at Sweet, I saw this cupcake and immediately thought of you,” I said with a smile to Tyson when I saw him upon returning to the office.
“Oh,” he clearly looked surprised. I handed the box and he opened it and saw the cupcake.
“I just want to thank you for helping me adjust to working at JLS and showing me the ropes,” I added making sure I wasn’t hinting at anything else.
“That was very nice,” he responded sounding less monotone. “I will have this for dessert.” And that was all he said. Okay…so it wasn’t much of response that I was expecting. But granted, both he and I had to get back to work. I should see this as one small step in the right direction.