It’s tough to describe the culture at my office. To college kids at career fairs and candidates during the interview process, I describe it as ‘work hard, play hard’. Over the years that’s the best way I’ve been able to capture the spirit of this place — where stress and stakes are high, but we also take time out for highly competitive ping-pong tournaments, organized Rock Band competitions, and discussions regarding the merits of Chapstick sharing.
So when – during a day off last week – I saw this kind of activity on Instagram from a few coworkers:
I just smiled and thought, “what are they up to now?”
Charlie the Camel, that’s what.
Jim, the Managing Director of our Northwest Arkansas office and my personal Buckeye dealer, invited Charlie the Camel to help the office properly celebrate Hump Day. And why not? It’s totally normal for a full-size camel to show up at an office, wander around INSIDE the building, greeting people at their desks and meeting rooms, before saddling up to offer rides in the courtyard.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t working that day — but I headed to the office as soon as I could. Who wants to miss There’s-a-camel-in-the-office Day?!
And as soon as 3:00 rolled around (because I could stomach getting him early from after-school, but not checking him out of kindergarten for this nonsense), I drove across town to get Colt so HE could meet Charlie. He knew something was up when I showed up so early to get him — and I made him guess “the surprise”. Needless to say, he didn’t guess CAMEL! and he was beside himself when we pulled into the parking lot.
By this time, Charlie was drawing attention both online and in the flesh. Cars were slowing down as they drove by the office, rubbernecking to see what the heck was going on. Two even stopped at the curb, intrigued to the point of getting out of their cars, approaching strangers, and asking, “uh, what’s with the camel?”
Online – same story. I posted a photo of myself with Charlie and mentioned that my office had taken Hump Day to the next level.
Check out the first comment, a guy I went to high school with. Approximately one hour after Charlie first arrived on the scene at my office he was already making his way through my “mutual friends” — and he was blowing up Facebook! I was getting texts and messages left and right —
Dude, a CAMEL?
A REAL camel?
What do you people DO at that office? Is the camel INSIDE?
Where the hell did you get a camel??
My News Feed was one long string of hump day hashtags and Geico references. You could say Charlie was a hit.
The downside – if there is one – is that Charlie has reset the bar of fun around the office. HIGH. How do you top an impromptu exotic animal appearance? I can’t wait to find out.