My NASA coworkers had an occasional ritual of stepping away from our laptops for a few minutes and gathering to share a pot of tea. On the surface, tea time may have looked like a break from work, but it usually led to us brainstorming some of our most fun and unique social media projects. The core social media team all attended; often, guests from other parts of the Office of Communications joined in.
My coworkers often traveled to other countries and usually returned with tea for the rest of us to sample. As someone who was happily satisfied by a cup of Twinings Earl Grey, I was delighted to expand my palate with fancy oolongs, rooibos and more from places as far away as Paris and Rwanda. We had a full spectrum of flavors, and I looked forward to hearing one of my coworkers say, “I’m putting on a kettle. Anyone want some?” They always seemed to know when I needed to step away from a project for a bit.
On one of my last days at NASA, my entire office surprised me with a farewell gift of loose leaf teas, a kettle and astronaut tea strainer. They told me I needed to carry on the tea time tradition with my new coworkers and to send back some of my blueberry white chocolate chunk scones. I may have cried a little.
Before starting my new job at Capital One, I took a trip across Europe. During my stop in London, I picked up a few loose leaf teas that I knew would make me feel at home in my new office. I set the gorgeous tins on my new desk, and my coworkers started inquiring about them. I mentioned the tea breaks at Goddard, and my mobile design colleagues insisted we do the same. We blocked off a half hour every Thursday as a trial. And soon enough, tea time once again became tradition.