The three of them were sitting around one of the two small outdoor tables of the cafe. Chel slid her wine glass to and fro before sitting back.

“So, should I be more or less pro-active? Should I get out of the way, or get more involved? Be more of the team’s mentor, guidance councillor, or just let them fail to sort their own careers out?”

The Women in IT therapy group was in session.

Beryl, “What’s brought this on? You’re one of the most confident, effective PMs we’ve got. If you’ve got the yips, we’re all in trouble.”

Chel, “Ach, there was a little moment today where Moaning Minnie vented forth on the unfairness of it all.”

Beryl, “Moaning Minnie?”

Cheryl, “The Thorne in our sides. You know, Eli. Working with him is mostly problem-free. He’s a great team member. But he tends to over-analyse and under-act on his worries. He had a go about the NPCs again, today.”

Jen, “And at me?”

Chel, “Of course. I suggested he just go and ask you or the other uncles about it, but he preferred to keep on whinging. I’m afraid I took advantage though. He overstepped the mark a bit, so I stomped in and got him but good. Offloaded a few of my own angsts. All ended well. I’m getting my computer serviced tomorrow.

But, he’s an extreme form of what I’ve noticed more widely in my team. I didn’t want this to be a just him thing, but so be it. This is the thing. I can see, anyone can see, that he needs to just walk over to your side of the office and have a chat. Should I tell him, flat out, to do so? Should I arrange a meeting between the two of you? Should I build up his confidence to a level where he feels capable of doing this himself? Or should I leave him to work out his own issues? He’s still, emotionally, a child. Great fun, but with massive insecurities, and moderately large mood swings.

Jen, “Well, we knew he’d be a challenge when we hired him. Actually, its turned out to be much less of a challenge than we’d feared. He’s really come up trumps with the scenery. Totally raised our game.

The NPC thing is not going well, despite extensive efforts. Perhaps it is time for a change. But Eli has been doing such good work on the scenery, and the NPC challenge is so great, that moving him onto NPCs would mean taking a hit on scenery with no corresponding improvement on NPCs. Still, might be worth giving him a go. New pair of eyes and all that.”

Chel, “Well, you want him to do it. He wants to do it. So where’s the problem?”

Jen, “I’ve been wanting to work with him on the NPC thing, if only to help warn him of the many, many deadends I’ve tried. I sense we could be a good team, but, you know, he has issues. You’ve heard them enough times.”

Chel, “Have you actually asked him? Look here I go again. Humph. Well, have you?”

Jen, “No, I can’t work out how to approach him in a non-threatening way. His hackles go up whenever I wander near.”

Chel, “Are you sure those are hackles, or just plain old nervousness? You are, after all, female, and he’s still awaiting puberty as far as I can tell. Although, his partner comes across like a normal human being, and he seems to be able to breathe normally and speak sensibly enough with her.”

Beryl, “Have you met her? What does she do?”

Chel, “At the pub a few weeks ago, they arrived together. Eli stayed, and she left soon after. Seemed normal. Actually she seemed particularly nice. Very solid. She knows who she is. Come to think of it, I may have used her niceness in my you’ve-had-your-whinge-now-its-my-turn session with Eli earlier.”

Beryl, “So, what does she do?”

Chel, “It wasn’t clear. We  only exchanged a few words, just enough to see that Eli has somehow managed to hook up with a good person. Perhaps something to do with the gym.”

Beryl, “Which leads me to wonder how they met, because, well, how best to put this. Um. Eli doesn’t look like he frequents the gym all that often.”

Jen, “Point of order. We agreed this was a WIT meeting. Emphasis on the W. Not WITless. We are here to fight off the oppressive influence of the glass ceiling which blights our career aspirations.”

Beryl, “Says she who is sitting above the glass ceiling. Fair point though. I think I need more wine to help fight off the oppressive influences. Anyone else?”