Readers will know that a colleague and I have been planning to build a model railroad in a mostly-unused back room at the office. We have been extremely busy lately, so haven’t had time. We’ve collected some materials, though: some 1x4s, a hollow-core door, and some assorted Kato packs.
Over the weekend, one of our employee’s told us that her 15-year-old daughter tried to OD on pills, so will be on suicide watch for a while, as they wait for an opening at a facility for troubled teens. I was asked if she could come into the office today, but given the high-paced work of clinical staff, I was the only one who could keep an eye on her.
I asked my colleague what we should do. He said, “Why not ask her to help you build that benchwork?” (The alternative would have been to sit in my office bored, or do some menial, fairly pointless tasks with me.) I suggested that idea to our employee, with the promise of running trains when it was completed. She said her daughter thought it sounded alright, and agreed to come.
I plowed through some paperwork over the weekend which freed me up to take an “employee wellness day” today, and we spent the day (six or seven hours) designing and building benchwork, then set up some track. She did most of the benchwork design and most of the construction as well. If you can’t tell, the whole thing folds up against the wall on hinges.
We had a really good time, and I hope she feels as accomplished as I do. She came in this morning embarrassed and withdrawn, but she opened up over the course of the day. We took a trip to the hardware store, had lunch, listened to some tunes, and talked and joked while building. She left in the evening full of smiles–all because of model trains.