So, my office is rather large. As the global headquarters for an organization that works in 26 countries, and partners with an additional 12 for fundraising, there are a lot of people in my office. Not terribly many in my department, but in the building as a whole, there are something like 900. Now, you corporate types might not feel like that's a terribly big office, but for us non-profiteers, its enormous. I'm more likely to meet someone outside of work and talk with them for several minutes before realizing that we actually "work together" because they are on a different floor and I've never seen them before. It happens.
This also means that we regular-type workers don't have a lot of access to the executive office. I mean, its on the same floor as mine, and I walk through it all the time to get to the other side of the building, but it doesn't mean I have access to the executives. I rarely see any of them. My co-workers and I have executive-sightings, and one time, my one co-worker about died of embarrassment because she kept dropping stuff in the cafeteria and bending over to get it (several times) only to realize our CEO, was standing behind her.
I assume this is somewhat similar to those folks who work in the corporate offices for like the big 3, or Google or Yahoo. Except those CEOs probably have their own cafeteria, and regular workers probably see them even less than I see our CEO.
So here's the fun. I was at the office one night this until 6, because we had a 5k charity race during work, which is a lot of fun, but also meant that I was behind the 8-ball to get some stuff done. So, because fortunately, we have a locker room at work (seriously, best building I've ever worked in. We have a locker room!) I showered and let my hair drip dry, and went back to work. I sit in a cube in a row that currently doesn't have a lot of people in it, and I didn't have any late afternoon meetings, so I wasn't terribly concerned that I still had makeup smudges under my eyes, and my hair wasn't combed. Plus, I was in jeans and a wrinkly shirt from jamming it into a locker before the race (and we got an extra casual day for running, hence the jeans.)
Toward the end of the evening, I remembered that I needed to go to the grocery store to pick up some potatoes and carrots, because I was making beef stew for a co-worker's family. I was worried I would forget, so I wrote out my grocery list on a big sticky note, and literally stuck it to my shirt so I wouldn't forget. I'm alone in my cube, so who cares?
Just before 6pm, I had to run to the restroom before leaving, but the women's room in my department was being cleaned. So, I trot over to the executive suite to use that restroom, because I have a tiny mouse bladder and there's no way I can make it out of work without using it.
I run smack into the CEO in the hallway. Scraggly hair, smudgy makeup, and the great big sticky note on my chest and all.
What did he say, you might ask?
"Hi, how are you?" And I say, calm as can be "I'm good, how are you?" Then I get to the bathroom and think about never coming out again, because he enters the executive conference room and the ENTIRE BOARD is in there!
Sigh. Well, here's hoping that I looked unrecognizable, so if ever I run into him again, he will have no idea that hag in the hallway was me.
This was so much easier when I worked for normal-sized non-profits and actually had a relationship with the CEO... Imogene! I miss you!!