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"We Are the Main Office" (A New Collective Next "Transcribe")

"We Are the Main Office" (A New Collective Next "Transcribe")

Mason Smith's picture
Mason Smith
June 2nd, 2014

Transcribes are more-or-less weekly chats during which we share what we’ve learned recently and figure out what it means to us and our clients. 

During our most recent Transcribe, we decided to try something new. We’ve been polling one another for worthy topics too long without going outside. Literally outside. It was too warm to stay inside the office, so we took Transcribe on the road. Well, three blocks on the road. The spring air had us itching for some new perspectives, so we ventured to the nearest gathering of diverse viewpoints that might be willing to come together briefly, think a little better, and move some ideas forward. We went, of course, to the local assembly of food trucks.

We approached several unsuspecting groups of people waiting in line and asked them what ideas they have been excited about lately at work. We weren’t sure what to expect and were pleasantly surprised with the responses we received.

What struck us most was that everyone answered all our questions. There was a bit of nervousness at the beginning when people encountered two strangers asking them “What are you thinking about at work this week?” But as soon as they recognized that we weren’t either (a) trying to sell them something or (b) about to kidnap them, they answered freely, often in more detail than we expected. We’ve read the research about how humans default to collaborating and socializing; it was delightful to experience how that plays out in real life.

And what were our new friends in Dewey Square thinking about at their jobs? People started with the usual icebreaker topics (the fate of local sports teams, the weather, kids), but quickly got to what people really care about when they work: the quality of their products, how to manage their time, how to get people to stop confusing your office with a train station (that last one was real, but then again the food trucks are across the street from South Station). Some of the men, in particular, got quite animated and specific about their work (we learned a lot about iBeacon and how it’s being used at our local baseball shrine).

What we got most of all as the food trucks lines moved forward was how important it is to find meaning at work. Although one of the women worked at what she acknowledged was a “satellite office” for her company as a whole, she added, “We like to think we are the main office.”

We all do, wherever we work.

food trucks photo courtesy of MassVacation

 

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