I love New York City. ( I actually just love Manhattan, since I have visited very little of the rest of NYC.) I have been there so many times, though, that I have become that most obnoxious of visitors – a tourist who pretends she’s a native. My visits often find me annoyed by foreign visitors standing in the middle of the sidewalk reading a map, men trying to line up their whole family to take a picture in busy Times Square or Duffy Square, and souvenir shops. ANY kind of souvenir shop. For quite a while my trips to NYC have consisted of only two diversions – museums and theatre.
So when I offered to take my granddaughter Ilissa to NYC in August to celebrate her upcoming b’nai mitzvah/13th birthday, I was expecting to spend a lot of time in my annoyed-with-tourism mode, because I gave her carte blanche to choose everything – shows to see, places to go, stores to shop at. I only set adult limits like “no walking through Central Park in a downpour.”
An amazing thing happened, though, during our 3 day visit. I found myself seeing NYC – all of NYC – through the eyes of a child who had never experienced anything quite so new, so wonderful, or so fun. Even the souvenir shops (and she visited a LOT of them :-)) – became a new adventure and a way for me to try find something interesting or unexpected. I was thrilled to find my husband a “Law and Order” t-shirt in the NBC store at Rockefeller Center – a store I would have ignored before. The more that my youngster ooohed and aahhed and questioned and learned, the more I enjoyed re-discovering the city I had left behind, like the top of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
You already know the moral of this story, don’t you? If you have been at your organization a long time and are bored with it, or mired in the mundane, or have forgotten its possibilities – find some fresh eyes. Of course they don’t have to belong to a child, but how about getting someone from a totally different department to tour yours? Or bring in a friend or relative and give them a tour and explain what your company does – a field trip! You just may see your department or company in a new way, or at least in the enthusiastic way that time has made you forget.