I try to not be a respecter of persons; treating all people that I meet with equal respect. This has been frowned upon from time to time if, for example, the CEO thinks I'm diminishing him by treating the janitor as respectfully as I do him. Regardless, its something I try to stay on top of. Never before however, has it been so damn funny.
The Operations Manger was escorting a lanky, pony-tailed Californian around the other day, introducing him to people. Most people thought he was a new employee. When they arrived at my desk I stood up and shook his hand, then recognized the name on his badge. He was one of the old-timers, like me. I squeezed my eyes shut and realized he was one of the network guys I'd never met, so we started talking. "What brings you to town?" I asked.
"Outsourcing meeting." He replied. I shook my head violently from side-to-side and leaned closer to him and mock-whispered, "Around these parts they've decided to call it simply, 'Sourcing' because that doesn't have the negative connotation that other word has. See? Don't you feel better already knowing when you're tossed out on your ass you won't have been outsourced?" He didn't have much of a response to my ribbing, so I turned it up a notch. "So what did you do before [our company] came along?" I asked.
"I was working networks (aha! I was right!) 10-years ago. When [our company] came in we just all transitioned. They wanted me to be a physicist for them, but it had been too long that I didn't feel comfortable doing that."
It was then I jabbed him in the ribs with my elbow and said, "Well, if you don't make the cut, its nice to know you have that physicist thing to fall back on," and winked at him.
This type of back-and-forth went on far longer than was comfortable for either of us, as I was growing weary of his lack of personality, inferred just that, and wished him a safe flight back in manner I hoped wasn't overtly dismissive.
It was only later that I found out that 'network guy' was my boss's boss.