“A lady’s steps should be soft and light,” my Mom told me when I was 13. Back then, I had a habit of clomping around everywhere like I was trying to demolish the floor, whether walking at a slow pace or rushing. It was totally acceptable when I was a child, but certainly not for a blossoming young lady.
Over the course of several weeks, I managed to train my feet to emit the gentlest, most hushed footsteps ever heard (or often not heard). I was pleased as punch– and, I suppose, so was Mom, since I never got any further prompting to refine my footsteps.
Fast forward to adulthood, and one of the things I’d hear most often at my workplace was, “Goodness! I never knew you were there!” followed by, “You’re way too quiet!” (or variants thereof).
Prior to my current career, I’d never noticed my proficiency at sneaking up on people, simply because I’d had no need for it. I was a rather self-sufficient student, and ploughed my way through school mostly working as a team of one. Instead of going up to schoolmates or teachers for assistance, I’d hit the library and eventually find the answers myself. Group projects also went by without me ever approaching people; I’d be the head-down worker who only spoke when spoken to.
So after being plunged into the office environment, where approaching one’s colleagues for consultation, feedback, or cracking jokes was the order of the day, I found it surprising that nobody would notice my presence until I announced it. And when I did, the colleagues in question would jump a mile high, because they had no idea there was one more person in the vicinity. I even tried modifying my approach so that I would come up beside my colleagues rather than behind them, but the reactions stayed the same.
One of my seniors pointed out that I’d make an excellent ninja, and so the Office Ninja title was born.
And there you have it. Cue theme music!
(Yes, I occasionally watch Power Rangers when I have the opportunity. Doesn’t everyone who was a kid in the 90’s?)