Ducks and Dammit Dolls
– A Thanksgiving Tale

Posted by Alicia Raff - November 26, 2019

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The holidays are approaching, and you know what that means…it’s time for lots and lots of food! Ok yes, and time to think about everything you’re thankful for in life and all that good stuff, too.

I’m thankful for more things than I can possibly mention, and I’d get yelled at for going over the blog word count if I tried to fit it all in anyway, so I’ll just focus on how thankful I am to work at a place where I feel respected and valued, and a place that cultivates an environment and workplace culture of PLAY and fun. I’m also thankful for the random super weird little things at Reflection Software that help get me through the day. What super weird little things am I referring to? Well, warm up a hot chocolate, get your roaring fire going (space heater works, too), and prepare yourself for a Thanksgiving Tale for the ages. Just, with slightly more…ducks.

Duck hiding in potted plant

You may have noticed by now, but we like collecting random objects here at RS. Specifically, little rubber duckies. You'll find them scattered throughout our website, hanging out in our meeting rooms, strategically placed in people's office doorways; they even show up in our newsletters now. Ducks. Everywhere.

You may be wondering, "Seriously, what’s up with all the ducks?!” And to that I say to you, "Because we care about each other."

Still super confused? Let me explain.

It Started At A Trade Show…

Duck Invasion
The ducks started showing up in the office around 10 years ago. The story goes that the first one was picked up as trade show swag and brought back to the office as a joke. The duck would waddle from place to place, showing up in the kitchen one day, on top of the clock in the conference room the next. It became a game, trying to figure out where the duck would appear next. Then more of them started to appear as the years went on. Big ducks, small ducks, ducks with costumes and hats and different color combinations. It was a rubber duck INVASION.

 

Got a Problem? There’s a Duck For That

Cowboy Duck enjoying a nice day in the office.

The thing is, the ducks ended up becoming way more than “just ducks.” I remember one day after having a really rough conference call, one of my colleagues walked by my office and noticed I was looking pretty distraught. They walked away and came back holding one of these little duckies and said, “Not sure what’s going on. Take the duck - it’ll help.” I just kind of looked at them like they were crazy, but I took the thing anyway.

I held onto that little duck that happened to be dressed as a cowboy, and I actually started to laugh at how ridiculous it looked. This weird little duck wearing a miniature ten-gallon hat helped me put things into perspective so I could stop, take a breath, and re-focus my energy on what needed to happen next to turn the project back around. It also made me realize that, while I felt pretty low in that moment, I work with such amazing people that they can tell when I need help in the midst of their own day, and find me a random duck to hold onto.

Ducks with Dammit Doll

In time we added more odds and ends to our collection. The ducks are now accompanied by little plushie “Dammit Dolls” (if you’ve never heard of them, I highly recommend checking them out) and stress balls that occasionally get thrown throughout the office in times of both joy and frustration. Having a bad day? Try using the Dammit Doll for its intended purpose. Need to get someone’s attention? Throwing a stress ball in their vicinity will do the trick (our phones do work, by the way... but throwing things is just more fun).

All of these random objects are not just “things” anymore. They’ve become our own communal inside joke, bringing play and levity to tight timelines and stressful situations, and they’ve even turned into a source of inspiration (hence the ducks now appearing everywhere, even on our trade show booth)! Our separate unique personalities are threaded together through these little objects that connect us, bringing us closer as a team and helping us see that sometimes seemingly big things are really not so big, and really silly little things can make all the difference in the world.

 

Thanks for all the Quacks

So, what are we thankful for at Reflection Software this year? Just to name a few: Family, our heroic military, health, the relationships we cultivate with our clients, participating in projects that help to change lives and tackle societal issues, and being able to laugh at ourselves even when it’s hard. We’re also thankful to work on a team that uses rubber ducks as a coping mechanism, and thankful to have teammates that care enough about you to know when that duck really is needed most.

Happy Thanksgiving from our little duck family, to yours.

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Topics: Company Culture


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