I remember the first time it happened. We hired Todd as an intern in the hopes of growing new talent in the company. We were a true startup back then, working out of a tiny office space, with interns huddling around old desktops in our lobby. Our clients weren’t local, never have been, so I didn’t expect that knock on our door. It was Todd’s Mom. She came to take him for lunch on a Tuesday, and he got up and left like it was no big deal.
Todd is now a VP in our office, with a lumberjack beard and holes in his ear lobes. The first time his Mom showed up like that’s just what parents do, I had a feeling it was one of those younger people kind of things, maybe an intern thing. We’re both neither young nor old, but he’s in a different generation than mine. That Tuesday, I thought his Mom came as a one-off visit to congratulate him on his first internship. The next Tuesday she came again. Over a decade later, she’s never missed a Tuesday.
Let me be clear about her visits. Todd’s Mom does not just wait in the car for him downstairs to pick him up and take him to lunch. Every Tuesday, Todd’s Mom parks her car, rides the elevator up to our now Buckhead high-rise, comes in and circulates the entire office to hear about how everyone is doing. Then they go out to lunch.
When times were good she’d bring gifts to my employees who were graduating, getting married and having babies. During the recession, she brought encouragement, warmth and smiles. She was there when we celebrated our 10 year anniversary as a company and when Todd won ’employee of the decade.’ Sometimes she’d take the whole company to lunch. Sometimes she’d even bring Todd’s Dad.
When you work in technology for a decade or more, you experience true generational differences day-to-day in your staff. You see new hours and schedules, new desires for benefits and flexibility. I’ve enjoyed these changes. And yet, experiencing friends and family supporting our office has been one of the nicest things.
I let Todd’s Mom come to our office every Tuesday for lunch for the last ten years because she cares about our staff and she cares about our success. We look forward to seeing her. And Todd loves seeing her. Todd’s Mom has never been on our payroll, but she’s part of the fabric of our culture. This week, we decided to surprise her by taking her to lunch, to celebrate her for all these years of service to us.
Jane, thank you for being part of Neurotic Media for more than a decade. Wonderful to have you on our team!
(Shachar Oren, CEO)