Serious (not serious)

Isn’t it funny the things that stick in your memory? I have a pretty crap memory at the best of times so when something pops back into my brain I take it as a sign that my brain thinks it’s important, even if I’m not sure why.

Today the random memory was a conversation I had with my first boss. I had joined a small software company as a technical administrator, a wonderfully vague title that ended up with me becoming a technical writer. There were 12 software engineers of varying levels of experience and me. We worked in a cottage (this one) before moving to the converted boat building space next door (now a “Curves” outlet I see).

We would go to the pub every Friday for lunch. Occasionally stay there all afternoon, and on one infamous night end up staying there all night drinking whisky and tequila and someone may have not gone home and majorly pissed off his fiancée. But that’s a different story.

I liked it a lot, it was relaxed and looking back it was here I started to develop my work persona, or at least the part of it that has remained with me to this day. Some would call it being cheeky, some would say I was just silly, but regardless I quickly found I had the capacity to make people smile and laugh. It’s something that has stayed with me to this day, although it feels like it happens less often than it used to.

After my first year of employment my boss at the time took me into his office for a ‘review’. I was nervous and wanted to make a good impression and in the opening few minutes of the discussion I tried to lighten the mood with a few comments.

My boss sat back in his chair. Looked at me and said “ok, so let’s talk about this lack of seriousness”. And so we did, he took some time to point out that perceptions were important and that whilst I was at the start of my career I would maybe be better advised to tone it down a little lest people not take me seriously.

Whilst that all sounds very dull of him, he was right. I am, and remain, too quick to resort to cheap laughs. Over the past coughs years I’ve managed to gauge it a lot better. In truth it’s my go to during times of stress or high emotion (I am Chandler from Friends) but part of me doesn’t mind that.

I wrote a post a long time ago about this (almost 15 years ago) and I’ll admit I was pleased to see that my attitude hasn’t much changed as this is a part of me that I like.