Dale found himself walking into the kitchen during a break in his day of back to back meetings.
Dale finding himself wasn’t an out of body experience, but perhaps an out of mind one. After being promoted to a management role in Compucon’s Service Delivery branch, Dale often found himself sitting in meeting after meeting and wondering how he had got there and how he could re-enter his body and make his legs move to leave them.
Dale did not know how he had been promoted to management. His old team lead had proposed it as a career path back when Dale’s only skill was to nod along and agree to everything older people told him. Then after years went by that he couldn’t really remember he now found himself leading teams. He wondered if this was what they called male privilege, and if it was, it was a horrible misnomer.
But the worst thing about being a manager wasn’t the meetings, it was the times after the meetings when you didn’t know what to do with yourself. In meetings it was easy to be busy because someone else was talking and Dale’s ability to nod along and agree to everything had only improved over the years. And meetings gave you a justification to go out for a walk and buy a coffee whenever you didn’t have a meeting because it always looked bad if you fell asleep during meetings, and this also made it harder to get a good sleep on the toilet later in the day.
There had to be more to leadership than attending meetings, but there wasn’t enough time to think about it. Because of all the meetings. Any time there weren't meetings there wasn’t time or opportunity to explore these feelings because you needed to recover yourself mentally from all the meetings before the next meeting.
But today Dale found himself walking into the kitchen with a break between meetings, and time to reflect. At the same moment he noticed that the kitchen floor was covered in shards of broken glass from a large jar of white, clumpy, frothy stuff that had been knocked on the floor and left a huge mess.
No one else was around.
“I should do something about this,” Dale said aloud, energised suddenly by something more than the three coffees he’d drank that morning.
The time had arrived to become the leader that someone whose name he forgot believed he could be. Not just sit in meetings, but achieve something.
Moments later he left the kitchen, which was in the same state as when he’d found himself in it, except there was now a piece of paper stuck on the bench that said “Caution - Broken Glass”.