Life of Pie

“Prepare to put mustard on those words, for you will soon be consuming them along with this slice of humble pie that comes direct from the oven of shame, set at gas mark egg-on-your-face.”

– Moss, The IT Crowd (Season 2, Episode 5)

As a perfectionist, I hate mistakes. Discovering mistakes I’ve made is extremely disturbing, and I appreciate it even less when someone else points out my shortcomings. It’s like being hit in the face with a pie. I also dislike showing others mistakes they’ve made. Doing so, I feel, is like throwing a pie in their face. In my little world, pies should be eaten and mistakes should be avoided. My employer (call them Cubicle Farm Ltd.) apparently does not share this sentiment. 

This week, Cubicle Farm Ltd. in its infinite wisdom decided to have an employee appreciation day. They really did go all out. From carnival games to barbecues, from cake to cotton candy, from pop-corn to pie-throwing. And therein lies a paradox, at least in my opinion.

In addition to annual employee appreciation days, Cubicle Farm Ltd. has a website which allows employees to show appreciation to their colleagues by sending Thank You cards. The sender has the option of making them visible to everyone in the company. It is a great way to recognize great colleagues. But the senders of these virtual Thank You’s deserve recognition, too. Why not let them throw a pie at management?
I was confused when I first heard this proposal. Would someone who takes pride in his co-workers even feel comfortable throwing a pie at someone? It would be like going to MacDonald’s to celebrate the start of a healthy diet. It didn’t make sense to me… until the pies became airborne.
But will it fly?
Seeing upper management pelted with pie was actually a lot of fun. Plus, we were fed cake while this was taking place. Dessert and a show – not bad for a day’s work! Everyone seemed to enjoy it – even the pie-faced managers, which was a real surprise!

What I’ve come to realize this week is that it is okay to make mistakes, and that many people are not as apposed to being shown their mistakes as I am. While it will take me a long time to get out of my own way, I am learning to accept the odd pie to the face, even though I am not yet ready to throw them.

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