Okay, maybe just a legend within my company...but that counts for something!
Since July is the month that all Finns and their mothers (literally) take vacation and run for the hills (if Finland actually had hills), our site closes down one of the two cafeterias and forces everyone to use the large dining hall (much to my coworker's chagrin). It was in this mightily overcrowded eating arena, that several situations collided, and I was met by a legend.
Under normal circumstances, Finns will refuse to share tables with anyone else. People eating alone will sit at entire tables by themselves and generally speaking people will leave them alone, opting instead for any other available table rather than potentially disturb them and ask them to share. Such is not the case when there are is a situation of overcrowding, as there is now, in the summer months.
I had already gotten my tray of food and spotted a table with a lone diner. Asking if I could share his table, I sat down and waited for my teammate. It was during this waiting period that our table was approached by...my company's CEO.
Now, at first I was not quite sure it was him. He was dressed in a casual denim shirt and wasn't wearing a visible badge (appropriate I would say, given the circumstances), but he's a pretty distinctive looking guy, so, it only took me a second to confirm that it was probably him. And when he started asking around the table what departments we worked for, my suspicions were confirmed.
And then the most awesome thing happened. We had a conversation like normal human beings. I made the comment that he must be busy right now and he launched into how they were just finishing up the last quarter's figures which was like seeing what the past, present, and future would hold. Then he asked me design questions. Me! He asked me about design. And he was well-informed. I had an intellectually stimulating conversation about design with my CEO for 25 minutes. It was glorious.
And just like that, he finished his meal and was gone, wishing us good day. I've never been so at ease with an executive before, so able to just express my thoughts and get witty commentary back. This guy knows what he's talking about. He's no half-wit relying on other people to make his decisions. He actually knows something about the decisions he's making.
Thank goodness. Because at times like this, it's good to know you're in the hands of someone who is not subpar. Especially when tough decisions are being made and times are hard.
Thanks, Stephen, for reassuring me that someone made the right choice in getting you to the top. My faith has been somewhat restored.