The Underling is furiously inputting payrolls that he has neglected for the past six months of his internship and because of that he has little time to post (maybe he should have worked more and posted less in the past month or so). In leu of his absence we shall be running a few posts from his EU internship that were originally posted at The Doyle Opinion. We apologize if you have already read this post and you can just disregard it if you didn't like it the first time. But like all the other reposts this one will come with commentary from the Underling himself. Enjoy!
As always this color delineates commentary.
Mr Pawel B. Piskorski is my boss, he hails from Warsaw Poland where he used to be the Mayor. I have met my boss a grand total of four times (I think this was the last time I didn't even get hte obligatory "You did a great job" on my last day), shook his hand three times and my longest conversation happened during this encounter:
I walk into the office
Weronika: Good-morning Kevin, how was your weekend? (picture a heavy Polish accent)
Me: It was fine, how was yours?
And then she jerks her head in the direction of my bosses office. I continue the conversation, a little bit puzzled as to why Weronika had jerked her head, I settle for it being that my boss is in today unlike last week.
I sit down, boot up the computer, the phone rings, Weronika answers, normal morning. Then she hangs up and says in a hushed tone.
Weronika: Um, Kevin....you should probably go in and say hi to the boss.
I say that I will, and as I am getting up and making my 3.5 meter trip to my bosses desk I start to freak out and wonder what the hell did I do? I have a guilty conscious all the time, when ever the situation can remotely call for me to be reprimanded I think the worst and today was no different. I move through the doorway that brings me to the boss’s office thinking that I must have embarrassed Mr. P in some fashion, maybe my hair is to long, who knows.
Me: Good Morning sir.
Looking up with the smile he always seems to have when he speaks with me, which is not a good sample size to judge his mood because I have spoken so few times with the man, for all I know he could be incredibly angry....
This was probably the biggest difficulty I had with living and working in Belgium, I could never read some ones mood. Either their English was just not good enough for them to express themselves or the way they expressed their mood through non-verbal means (facial expressions, or body language) just did not translate. I never knew if Weronika was happy, sad, angry or annoyed, I always had to guess.
Boss: Good Morning, how are you doing?
Me: I’m fine sir, how about yourself?
Waiting for the other shoe to drop.......
Boss: I am well.
And then we had one of those moments where, just like when my mom grabs one of my brothers and makes them talk to me on the phone when they are unprepared, where you have nothing to say and then you suddenly realize it and you have no idea what to do (My dad loves to do that to me and I'm just glad that my brothers feel just as awkward about it and refuse the phone from him). So with that the boss smiled and looked back down at his work, and I kinda just shuffled back to my desk wondering what the hell just happened?
This one interaction with my boss is a microcosm of my internship as a whole. I did very little, was asked to do very little at that, and when I was asked to do something it was awkward, easy and pretty much pointless.