We asked the industry: What was the funniest/most awkward moment you had with a young coworker?
Managing Director at Procre8
In a previous job, pranking colleagues was an everyday affair and we were constantly watching our backs, lest a colleague pulled a fast one on us. Pranks ranged from the simple “Your client called and angrily asked for you. Please call him back,” which of course caused anxiety, to more elaborate ones like putting a secret admirer note with a rose on the desk of a colleague and enjoying the puzzled expression of the person trying to work out who it was.
I remember one such prank that always brings a smile to my face.
We had recently hired a young intern who was unaware of the high jinx that people got up to. The unsuspecting em- ployee sat in front of his computer only to receive his first email of the day from ‘HR’ (this was an elaborate scheme where we managed to get buy-in from the HR depart- ment) saying that they had looked into his file and found that, due to oversight, the official ‘fitness test’ had been overlooked and he would need to take the test at the earliest in order to be confirmed.
The intern solemnly marched to the HR department where he was given an official- looking document outlining a series of exercises to be done in succession. After a grueling ten minutes which involved him completing rounds of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, lunges, and burpees, with the HR manager checking his pulse at regular intervals, he turned around with perspiration oozing from every pore to see a whole bunch of us struggling hard to stifle our giggles. Of course, the whole room then erupted into laughter, with the sheepish-looking intern trying to hide his embarrassment.
We decided that he had earned himself a meal for his effort, so we all headed out to celebrate another gullible soul getting pranked!
VP of Cyber Protection Research at Acronis
Some time ago, a young new employee (23 years old) and I started discussing how a certain software step could best be implemented. I was convinced that there was no direct method and that my suggested way would be the quickest.
My motivated co-worker was not convinced and started googling other options. After a while, he sent me a link to an article describing exactly how it could be done directly in a much better way. What neither of us realized at the time was that it was an article I had written myself and completely forgotten about. So, he had beaten me with my own experience without me realizing it.
Knowing that the younger generation is used to combing the Internet in search of information helps me to better assign tasks in future research projects.
Founder & PR Consultant at ALISA PR
It was during Christmas, the time of the year when we all get to play Secret Santa at work and share in the spirit of giving and bringing a smile to most of our faces – stress on “most of our faces.”
We were given a budget for the gift so that there was a sense of equality and fairness. I ended up picking a lovely pink-colored handbag for my younger colleague, as I was her Secret Santa. Ironi- cally, a year later, she ended up being my Secret Santa and I found myself staring at the exact same handbag. It was even the same color. I asked her, “Isn’t this the exact same bag I gifted you last year?” There was an awkward moment of silence till we both burst out laughing.
Business Development Director at Forward PMX
Often, the work environment is a melting pot of different cultures, personalities, languages. It allows people to grow not only professionally but personally as well.
We spend many hours working in the office and, nowadays, digitally with our colleagues. We understand that success is not an easy path and it takes time and effort in order to be achieved.
Interacting with co-workers can be cumber- some and difficult at times. You need to be able to master your expertise, bring your know-how into the mix, absorb others’ opinions, and come to a conclusion that is beneficial for the team and the company.
A few times over the years, I encountered young colleagues looking at me awkwardly and breaking the ice by referencing my age as a sign of wisdom. In one particular occasion – it would have been a few weeks into a new job – I decided to have a small break and go for a walk downstairs to grab a sandwich and go back at my desk.
All of a sudden, one of the juniors couldn’t wait to join me. He ran as I was aiming for the door, clumsily bumping into one of the Senior Directors, and attracted the attention of everyone passing by.
The young guy looked at my colleague, then at me with great embarrassment, and mumbled with a squeaky voice, “We, as employees, need to spend more time with our senior colleagues because they carry experience with them.”
There were a few seconds of silence before everyone started laughing; it was so funny. The Senior Director looked at me and said, “Well, Claire, knowledge comes with age and your young colleague couldn’t have said it better.”
CEO of Fullstop, part of Webedia Arabia Group
I really enjoy working with young creatives as they bring fresh new ideas and keep the energy high in our workplace. While I love the creati- vity they bring to our campaigns, I’m equally amused by how each generation perceives the world around them and the way they express this perception. That has led to many interesting and funny moments.
There are a couple of interactions, though, that I had with a young client service executive that I just can’t get over, and they crack me up every time I think of them.
The first time was when he came to me with what he thought was “a very serious question.” A client was asking for a bird’s eye view shot for our next commercial and he wanted to know what that was.
I simply asked him, “What do you think it could be?” After a long pause, I asked him “Why are you looking at me in that funny way? Go on now, what do you think it could be?”
He said, “I am doing it.”
I asked, “What are you doing exactly?” while seeing that he was squinting his eyes at me, which I had not initially caught.
He said he was squinting his eyes because the eyes of a bird are smaller and he was trying to figure out what it would look like if he had a bird’s eye and how to make a camera squint like a bird. To this day, I have a bit of a laugh every time a client asks for such a shot.
The second time that comes to mind is when we were in a rush to deliver a submission to a client. As I was writing the email, this same young creative asked me to not put anyone on CC. I asked why and he said, “So the email can reach the main guy faster.” He thought emails work like Uber dropping attachments one by one and that cc’ing other contacts would delay the delivery. This moment was priceless and I can’t help but smile every time I think about it.
This article was published in Communicate's latest issue.