"I suddenly realized, bringing my attention to the meeting going on and away from the trees outside the window earlier this afternoon, that I wasn’t home. Meetings are funny – long tables arranged in U shapes, chairs strewn about. Windows that open to nondescript views hid the fact that I’m somewhere new. There was a moment – a rather excruciating one – where I panicked. I missed Friend and my house and my dog! I wanted cheese biscuits or waffles or sweet tea! But I settled in again, reminded myself to breathe and focused on the topic at hand."
-Day One, July 7, 2008
Some things change, I thought as I looked around at the crowd gathered in our largest of meeting rooms (It seats 90% of our local business) to receive a business update and realized I knew many of them. Then I shifted in my chair and reminded myself to focus on the meeting around me, smiling when I realized that other things are fairly constant over time. I was thinking of the conference call I had earlier and items I'd yet to action. I wondered what I wanted for dinner and frowned while trying to remember if I'd had lunch.
"She looks like me," I thought as I glanced at the photo and bullet items projected on the giant screen at the front of the room. I blushed, feeling my lips curve in that nervous I'm-embarrassed-by-wildly-flattered-by-the attention-of-two-hundred people smile when I realized that it was me.
"I saw Katie," Very Important said, glancing around the room. I waved my hand - high enough to be noticed, but low enough to be modest - and he smiled at me before returning to his remarks about how responsive and well-liked and generally awesome I was. I had time to wish my hair weren't yanked back in a messy ponytail and that I was wearing prettier shoes as people turned to grin at me.
"Congratulations!" Pretty Hair whispered from her seat beside me and patted my arm. "Did you know?"
"No," I denied immediately, trying to stop smiling so hard. I do like attention.
"Katie, can you come up?" Very Important asked, his microphone-amplified voice demanding my attention. I opened my mouth in surprise, closed it again and stood to make my way toward the front of the room. I reached for Very Important's hand when I arrived and thanked him - holding eye contact so I didn't have to look out at the gathered crowd - as people applauded. "You're doing a great job. We love having you on the team," he said and I thanked him again.
I returned to my seat, nodding in response to the congratulations people offered and clutched the white envelope that he'd given me in my hand. I soon smoothed the small spot where I'd wrinkled the paper, tracing the embossed company logo with the tip of my index finger before returning my attention to the next speaker.
"It's my one year anniversary," I told Pretty Hair as we exited the building, pausing to smile and nod at more expressions of congratulations.
"And you got an award!" she said, pausing to ask if it had really been a year since I started.
"To the day," I replied, finally tucking the envelope safely in my bag to open later. It's a small thing - a moment of recognition and small gift - but people think I'm doing a good job. I also think I'm doing well and very much enjoy being part of this group.
Thought it's not been without challenges, today I was visibly happy.