I like to think I know something about the nonwork interests of my colleagues, interests that may be — in spite of their workday professionalism — at least as much a part of who they are as their jobs. There’s the woman employed as a customer service rep who gets her kicks out of Tough Mudder competitions (extreme sports in mud). Or the editor who bakes bread every day. Or the economist who composes choral music and creates arrangements for flute choir.
Everyone has at least one other life.
But I guess if you’re not physically in the same office, if don’t have lunch together or chat in the ladies room or on the subway, you never find out about people’s other lives.
That’s why I was utterly floored this week when a hard-driving, business-oriented colleague in the Washington office sent around an e-mail saying she would be away from her desk for a month at an artist retreat in Korea. Huh?
Says I, “Oh! Are you an artist?”
Says she: “Yes” and sends me her website.
Oh, my gosh. This is who she really is: a sculptor and installation artist with a record of shows and a gorgeous portfolio. How does she even find time to be hard-driving and business-oriented in the day job?
It makes me wonder what else I’m missing, whose real life is right in front of me and I’m not noticing.