Today, the bulk of the employees who fall under the aegis of my immediate boss met for lunch after the end of a successful season on the job. Twelve of us (three of my subordinates couldn't make it because they had to work their day jobs) met at an upscale Greek restaurant chosen by the woman who runs our grounds and gardens crew. Her taste in dining establishments turned out to be impeccable... the staff was hospitable, the food delicious. We're a pretty hang-loose group, so most of us had a single beer with lunch. We're also close with our boss, who has been with the organization for just about two years. He's a good guy, a drummer, a comedian, the sort of department head who isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and get in the trenches when tough situations arise... the sort of boss who enjoys hanging out with his various teams for two hours, joking around and candidly discussing the foibles as well as the successes of the organization.
On one of our sites, a major renovation of an onsite structure is underway. The head of our maintenance department took some wood from the structure and fabricated keepsakes from it, adorned with pictures of the structure and shellacked to a mellow smoothness. We each got one of these curious as mementos of the construction project. It was a thoughtful gesture, a labor of love undertaken by a master of his craft, and a gentleman who happens to be, like the boss, a drummer.
We are currently in our seasonal lull- the tourists are all gone, the bulk of our part-time seasonal employees are off for the next few months. It's a quiet time on the job, a time earmarked for special projects that can't be accomplished in the open season. It's also a perfect time to take a few hours to enjoy each others' company, to spend some time just catching up socially, since we're largely caught up with work.