When you’re asked to MC your company’s kickoff

Earlier this month, the head of our team threw a random invite on my calendar to sync 1:1. I wasn’t really sure what this was about because she didn’t give much context in her invite, but I figured it couldn’t have been bad news. I mean, I’ve only been working at this company for the last 3.5 months, so I couldn’t have already screwed up that royally yet, right?

When we met, she said she had a proposition for me. At the time, I was engrossed in reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, in which Lori invites a guy out to coffee with a proposition to use his sperm for artificial insemination to impregnate her. So this was the first thought that came to mind. I was pretty certain she was not planning to ask for a) my eggs or b) my future first born.

Instead, her request was simple: would I be willing to MC one day of our company’s annual sales and success kickoff the last week of January? I’d have a co-host, and it would be a great way to get my name out there and interact with colleagues from around the world. Leaders across teams had apparently dropped my name as a potential fit because… I guess there’s been talk that over Zoom, I have “great presence”?

When the leader of your team asks if you’d be willing to take on a task this big, you don’t really have an option. Your only option is to say “yes.” And so, I said yes, thinking that this may be a great way to build my internal brand (putting on my sales hat here), and especially since I’m a fully remote employee even after the pandemic, it would also be a way to literally get my face and name out there across our global offices.

We had a few planning sessions. My co-host and I went through a few rounds of drafted scripts. I ad libbed a lot and also added in a few friendly jokes about specific individuals who are easy targets on my team’s leadership. And today was the big day. It was a strange time to be doing it; I was feeling quite low because of this whole fertility journey and not feeling my best. But in reality, the world doesn’t stop for anyone. No matter who lives and dies, no matter what awful experiences you are going through, the rest of the world continues moving forward, and so that pushes you to do the same regardless of whether you want to. So I dialed up my energy and enthusiasm, painted a huge smile on my face, and ran through the half-day session. And it seemed like it was a success, as tons of positive feedback poured in through the application we were using, and my Slack blew up with messages.

“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare once said. Sometimes, you just have to act like you’re happy and excited… even when you actually aren’t, and in reality, are feeling quite the opposite. And if you try hard enough, sometimes, you can actually fool yourself into that feeling.

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