This past Friday we had a big potluck lunch at our office. Together with most of the staff from the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI), of whom we are a part, we ate, laughed, celebrated the holidays, and made our contributions to the Maryland Charity Campaign. This has become a bit of a tradition in our office at this time of year and one I’ve grown to look forward to.
You’ve heard about Dance Break Fridays, so it’s clear that we at Volunteer Maryland believe in the power of balancing work with play. On Friday, we were able to share some of this balance with our GOCI colleagues. Throughout the year, we get together at occasional staff meetings and work together on shared events like the Governor’s Volunteer Appreciation Day at the State Fair, but it’s pretty rare that we have enough time to sit down together and just enjoy each other’s presence. So, for about two hours on Friday, we did just that. And, oh, did we laugh! I’m pretty sure there was music playing, but I could hardly hear it over the jokes. Interspersed with the jokes, though, we had some serious conversations. We talked about the effect of the economy on childhood nutrition, discussed plans for the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and reflected on the challenges and opportunities of ethnic and cultural diversity in our schools. In essence, we played and worked.
When the potluck was over and the laughter died down, everyone went back to their desks and powered through the afternoon. I thought about how lucky I am to work with people who are truly dedicated to making a difference in the world – and who know how to have a good time. We all deal with serious issues every day. Our work can be challenging and sometimes even frustrating. Taking a little bit of time to balance that with a hearty meal and a hearty laugh is a luxury, I know, but one that helps us to go back and keep the good work going.
I know that many of you reading this spend your days tackling pretty serious issues. So, in the spirit of balance, I wish you a good laugh, some good conversation, and maybe a shared meal with a colleague today. There’s no doubt that hard work deserves a bit of hard play.