When attending a small meeting — let’s say in a conference room — it’s considered good business etiquette to introduce yourself to people. At my workplace that’s rarely done. Instead, folks tend to completely ignore those they don’t know — and seem surprised and startled by introductions.
One day, I arrived at a meeting and another early bird was busily doing a crossword puzzle. I introduced myself (yes, she appeared surprised and startled) and went about preparing for my presentation. She looked up at one point and said those at the table, “NY Giants founder and longtime owner Tim…. four letters.”
“Mara,” says I.
This would be a good time to tell you that I am impressed with people who do crossword puzzles. OK, maybe not the TV Guide crossword puzzle, but most crossword puzzles.
Anyway, as the meeting started, she continued working intently on the crossword. And as I gave my presentation she didn’t look up once, instead focused on her task. At the end of the meeting? Still doing the puzzle.
It’s possible that she just didn’t find the meeting interesting — many meetings are not. Or it could be that she’s sharp enough to concentrate on two completely different things at once. But there’s a third possibility: she just doesn’t understand how to behave at work.
No skin off my teeth. You want to listen, listen. You want to do puzzles, have at it. Just remember, the only thing worse than not having the answers is not having a clue.