As a cat, I am a naturally curious creature. Each day I observe my best friend and roommate, Michele. Over our years of association, I have learned many things. For example, she has seemingly no fear of the water from the kitchen faucet, yet she will shy away from even the smallest bug. She is a strange animal indeed.
Lately, though, one thing has perplexed me more than usual. It’s the thing that she calls “work”. It’s how she spends most of her time when she is not paying attention to me. I’m in luck though, because this morning Michele announced that today is Bring Your Cat to Work Day. I can hardly believe my good fortune.
The day starts as usual. The alarm goes off and we begrudgingly climb out of bed. I eat breakfast and Michele drinks her first cup of coffee. Next, we set up shop in front of the mysterious laptop box. She explains this is a key component of work. As she opens the magical box, I watch as she immediately becomes transfixed. This is when the descent into madness begins.
The first item on today’s agenda is a department meeting. But get this, aside from us, everyone else is INSIDE of the laptop box. I am perplexed as I carefully watch the screen. At first, there are only a few people, but as more join, each person shrinks to create space for the next. There is seemingly no end to the number of tiny people that can fit into this laptop box! I investigate the area, but can not find the door for all these tiny people.
Next, I settle in to watch the screen. The meeting has been in progress for five minutes and I already feel like I am ready to lay down for a nap. Michele quickly nudges me – there’s no napping during meetings, she hisses. What? No napping? I am in shock.
I somehow manage to remain upright and stare into the webcam for the full 60 minutes. It was a difficult time; I honestly don’t know how she does it. Michele tells me this is being present, but that does not translate.
Now that our first meeting is complete, we take a quick break. More coffee is prepared and I jump up onto the counter to carefully observe the process.
Next, we attend another meeting. This one has fewer people. I get a chance to introduce myself and think that I make some meaningful contributions to the conversation. It feels good to participate, but, if I’m being honest, I’m still not sure what was actually accomplished.
During lunch, Michele gives me a break. I take the opportunity to check in with some of my other cat friends, who are also attending work today. I casually mention the name of the company where we are working and am met with an unexpected shock. One that sent chills through my entire body. It was brought to light that Michele works for a company that got its start by developing software that makes people LOOK LIKE PUPPIES.
I am immediately horrified, everyone knows that puppies and cats are mortal enemies. How could she do this to me?!
I approach Michele. I am so upset that I can barely get the words out. But once I explain my concern, she assures me those days are long gone and now her company builds software that is much more inclusive allowing people to look like giraffes, tigers, koala bears, bunny rabbits, and, yes, even cats. Eventually, I calm down.
Exhausted from my outburst, I attempt to nap again, but it is not allowed.
Our last meeting of the day is with the IDEA team. I could tell right away that Michele has an affinity for the tiny people on the screen. I observe carefully as they interact. Unlike the earlier meetings, everyone takes an equal amount of time to speak. There are no interruptions and not even one person looks like they want to take a nap.
As I continued to watch the group of seven interact with each other, I could tell there was something special. Even after working a full day with Michele I still do not understand what she does, but I can tell that she is doing it friends and that’s all that really matters.