The appointment letter from my new employer asked me to report to Tony at the security desk at 8:30 am on the joining date. Accordingly, I presented myself to the security guys at 8:15 am, told them I was joining XYZ company and asked for Tony. I was told he was not in yet and that I should wait. I was surprised but had no option but to do so.
8:25 am and then 8:30 am came and went and Tony hadn’t shown up. I was in a panic. The other security guys were pretty indifferent to my plight and asked me to call Tony’s number given in my appointment letter. I was annoyed as this delay meant I was going to be late on my first day itself! How dare a security guard delay me! How dare he make me call him? What was I going to tell my new boss?
I called Tony and without being rude (rudeness is not appreciated in the US at any level), I made my annoyance apparent. He apologized profusely and explained about the traffic etc. His apology didn’t help me much and I was barely able to resist disconnecting as he was speaking.
He finally turned up at 8:55 am and by that time, I was hot under my suit and tie collar! After a rather brusque intro and handshake from my side, he badged me in and said he would take me to the fourth-floor office.
When we reached my office area, he showed me my desk and my boss’s desk who, luckily for me, also hadn’t come in yet. He then took me to a small conference room and asked me to take a seat. He excused himself and said he would be back momentarily. All the time I had kept a sullen expression on my face all along and I am sure my body language must have been eloquent too!
He returned within a minute with a pen and notepad and took a seat opposite me. I was irritated. Now was this security guard going to ask me questions? After delaying me!
He opened the notepad and said “First, let me apologize again for making you wait. I should have been more proactive and called you earlier. I am sorry.” He paused for a moment and then continued very matter-of-factly “Before Sam(my new boss) comes in, let me tell you a bit about what we do here. As you know, I’m Tony. My full name is Anthony G……. I am MD of the Tech & Data Services Dept and Sam, your manager is a DMD and reports to me…….”
Well, what can I say? I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me! I wonder what my face must have looked like! But Tony seemed not to notice and continued talking very professionally. There was no sign that he had taken offence at my behaviour, that day or in all the time I worked there.
I keep wondering about Tony and his reaction that day or rather, the lack of it. But I should not be surprised. Americans are direct and don’t mince their words usually. I was quite direct that morning and my reaction was probably par for the course as far as Tony was concerned. He was late. I was annoyed. He apologized. End of matter.
Well, I also wonder how this incident would have played out in India. Actually, I don’t wonder. I would have probably lost my job.