September 6th, 2020
When you’ve worked somewhere long enough, you start to develop your own ways to describe what it’s like when your workplace hires new people.
I’ve always compared it to watching new seasons of your favorite TV show. Some seasons are better than others. They always have some sense of familiarity to them, no matter how much they change. But the biggest similarity is the importance of the characters within them.
Some people walk into a job and become an indispensable part of the show as you know it. You can make a distinct line between before they were there and after. They don’t just join the cast of main characters; they redefine the relationships between them.
And some people are just guest stars. They pop up for an episode or two, they might be memorable, they might shake up a situation, but they ultimately don’t become an essential strand in the DNA of the series.
I was the former for a long time, and I forgot what it’s like to be the latter. It’s eye-opening, it’s sort of scary, but it’s kind of exciting, too. The only thing that can tell you what kind of character you are in any particular show is time. Whether you’re sitting at the table asking, “Remember that guy…”, or if you’re just that guy.
It can be hard to see our roles, because we inhabit them under different circumstances. You could be a lead at home, but a guest star at your favorite coffee shop. You could be in the same room and be a Sam or a Norm.
Sometimes, you might just feel like an extra.
And it’ll remind you to be super kind to the extras.