Meeting 200 People in 200 Work Days Changed the Way I Approach (at) Work

In mid-April 2014, I was at a company happy hour and remarking how I knew fewer and fewer people at each work event I attended. You don’t realize how quickly a company culture can change until you’re nursing a cold beer and surveying the room for someone to mingle with. I decided to solve that problem by dedicating myself to meet one employee every day at work in the month of May.

It turned out though after that month I wanted to continue the project. Until today. Less than an hour ago, I met my 200th person in as many days, and that will be the last person I add to the list. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop meeting people; I will just let it happen more naturally. Over the past nine-plus months, I’ve introduced myself to pretty much everyone I’ve come across. I intend to carry on that mission.

Stopping now feels right. Not only do I recognize and recall a majority of the people I see in the halls, but also it’s growing harder to locate the people I haven’t met. That meant in recent weeks perusing seating charts and methodically walking over to spots of those I didn’t know. This portion of the effort felt too staged, deliberate, and stilted to me, compared with the many months when I could achieve the same results through running into people around the office.

At a recent happy hour, I was chatting with a group of folks, when their new supervisor joined us. As I leaned in to introduce myself to her, a coworker spoke up on my behalf and said, “This is the happiest person you’ll meet here.”

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