Our group at work is trying to hire a new employee. We all work from home, but the new company policy is that employees should report to the corporate office. Although my coworkers and I have gotten grandfathered into being able to continue working from home, our new employee will be required to sit quietly at his corporate desk. He'll sit there, mostly alone, while almost everyone he works with sits at home in their Snoopy jammies.
A few of us traveled down to our Silicon Valley office last week to take the potential new-hire out to lunch. Let's call him Larkin. We're still wooing Larkin, so we thought it would be best to show up in person, wearing our big boy clothes. We also wanted to deemphasize the we-work-at-home angle, so we played up our occasional visits to the office.
"Oh yeah, we come down here pretty often."
"Yup, we'd be here whenever you'd need us."
"Let me take you around and show you the office, the good ol' office."
This was a disastrous approach. First, our boss, Al, who also works from home, kept getting lost during the tour. Granted, the building is laid our poorly, but when you're trying to convince an interviewee that you love going to the office, it's counter productive to ask where the bathroom is.
Then, during our tour, Al made the mistake of saying hi to someone he had only previously dealt with via email and phone. The other employee stared blankly at Al, having no idea who he was. Larkin watched as Al vainly tried to prove that he wasn't some hobo off the Silicon Valley streets.
Also, everyone else that we ran into greeted us like they hadn't seen us in 100 years.
"MIKE! Jeez, what brings YOU here?"
"Look! THREE of you guys are here!! Are you quitting?"
"Oh. My. God. The apocalypse."
I'd be surprised if Larkin accepts our offer.