Uh-oh! It’s Welcome to Work Day!

My son, Mikey, was the first to notice.

“Bah-boons,” he cried as I unbuckled his car seat. “I want a bah-boon!”

He was pointing to the balloon archway festooning the entrance to Hyland’s Building 2, where he attends daycare, and where a squad of high-school cheerleaders was greeting employees on “Welcome to Work Day.”

Hyland pulls this stunt once a year. On a random morning, the executives prowl the parking lots in golf carts, abduct employees as we emerge from our cars, and escort us to the entrances. There, balloons, cheerleaders, and indulgent breakfast spreads await.

Welcome to work. Now don’t forget to wipe the powdered sugar off your fingers before you start typing.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Welcome to Work Day, and not just for the free food. I genuinely appreciate all the efforts Hyland and our executives make to show how much they value employees and the hard work we do. And this year, because it took place the morning after the Cleveland Indians’ defeat in the American League Division Series, Welcome to Work Day arrived as welcome relief for me and many other dejected fans sulking into our Westlake headquarters.

But what I love most about Welcome to Work Day is, I’ve come to see it as an impromptu game of “catch me if you can.” My goal: Avoid the golf carts, sneak to my desk, then, before my colleagues have completely vanquished the breakfast buffet, circle back for a donut.

Some years I’ll toss a strawberry on my plate. For health reasons.

The coast is clear! … Or not

This year, Bill Priemer, our President and CEO, foiled my plan.

After ditching Mikey in Building 2, I drove over to Building 1, where I work, and parked my car. In my rearview, I watched our cheerful chief executive motor past with a cartload of fresh detainees, clutching laptop bags to their chests, second-guessing wardrobe choices, hoping they successfully wiped all traces of Chobani from their chins.

When the coast was clear, I made my move. I exited my vehicle and ducked into a passageway between rows of full-size SUVs. A stretch of exposed parking lot separated me from the safety of the rear entrance.

I checked my perimeter. Nothing but blacktop. No golf carts in sight. I made a break for it. I was almost there, about to round the corner, mid-stride, when—

“Hey, Mike! Wait up!”

It was Bill. His paddy wagon had just rounded a row of cars and was headed right toward me. No escape.

A short ride

I surrendered and took the only spot left — riding on the cart’s front panel like a shameful hood ornament, a clear loser in this game of cat and mouse. As we crossed the parking lot toward the gauntlet of cheerleaders, the cart’s electric motor squealed in protest of its excessive payload. I scolded myself in silence.

“What were you thinking, Lovett? The coast was most definitely not clear. Rookie mistake. Rookie mistake.”

You caught me this time, Priemer. But I’ll be on my game next year. Just like the Tribe.

Mike Lovett

Mike Lovett

Mike Lovett is a Content Marketing Manager at Hyland. Besides working at Hyland, he loves spending time with his family, racing sailboats, and playing music.

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