Every Friday morning, the “Instruction and Innovation” department, of which I am a part, launches with a brief meeting, the purpose of which is to allow us time to hear from other sub-departments about their work. Today’s focus was norms and operating principles for our group as a team.

Following that meeting, some of us specialists were convened in a workspace that’s bursting with people – to talk about how we’re going to add more people. My boss posted a parking lot that we can add to over the next days: Things that are working for us, and things we need.

The third thing that happened this morning was that my colleague and cubicle-mate, Sharon, brought me a very delicious, specially-imported from Vancouver, BC, chicken bun. You know, those soft buns you get a dim sum, but instead of being filled with barbecue pork, this had a rich and delicious chicken filling.

The day before, Sharon had turned around in her chair, and said, “Do you like that thing from dim sum…”

“Yes!” I answered.

“The thing, what’s it called…”

“Yes! I like EVERYTHING from Dim Sum. Except I’ve never had the feet, because I’m too white for cart ladies to offer me the feet. I think I’d like them. But yes!”

Sharon was laughing at me now. “Shu mai!” she said. “Do you like shu mai?!”

“YES! I told you, I like EVERYTHING.”

“Okay,” she said, as if that solved everything. “Tomorrow, I will bring you one of those buns we get from Vancouver, but with a chicken filling that tastes like shu mai. That’s the kind my family all prefers, but I brought you the pork one the other time, because everyone loves pork.”

If I am able to list the thing I think is most critical in a workspace, the norm and operating principle nearest and dearest to my heart, it’s this: Have a desk buddy who not only teaches you, mentors you, listens to you, laughs with you, and cries with you, but also brings you delicious, delicious shu-mai-chicken-esque soft dim sum buns.

Thanks, Sharon!


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