(FORTUNE Magazine) – You know the feeling. Life is good. Time is money. Things are as they should be. And yet...you feel...shaky, for some reason. A little limp. Even a bit...weepy at times. Why should that be?

Let's start, as always, with a rigorous look at the situation. You've been pursuing your objectives for the past several days. Time has fled. Events have overtaken you. Success has been achieved on many occasions. On Wednesday you seized the bull by the horns and conducted an emergency meeting in the face of a Terrible Crisis that resulted in a Brand-New Approach that, when implemented, generated value for all concerned. Friday afternoon you received a memo from Grinker, the internal client, that said how grand you are. Many influential people were copied, including...Bob......something about Bob...

At any rate, for the five-day week, you managed to get out of the office three times for lunch, all for defensible reasons, and on two of those occasions drank with excruciating moderation. By the close of the week, all your messages were returned, all major papers either responded to, filed, or shredded, no major enemies made, perhaps even a few friendly potentialities investigated. The ball was moved several yards down the field, the rock rolled several meters up the hill that has no end. Of disasters, there were none. Pleasures, yes, a few. All in all, you did it again! Congratulations!

Then why don't you feel better? Why this listlessness, this aimless, vague sense of...emptiness? Is that melancholy throbbing away beneath the serge exterior? A feeling of incompleteness? What could explain this yearning, this craving to go somewhere, do something indeterminate, fill some ancient, needy void with...what, exactly? Who is lacking? You don't know, do you? But you're just not happy, are you? You're not sad, exactly; no, there's no reason to be, and God knows you're nothing if not a reasonable person, a grownup, a confident master of situations, people, and yourself, right? Sure. Then, what is it?

You need face time, Sparky. You need face time with Bob.

Don't try to deny it. You know what I'm talking about. That critical 15 minutes when the world stops and you get in there with Bob--no particular agenda, pick each other's brains, grab a few laughs, bat around the shuttlecock for a while, impart ideas, receive wisdom, get and accept management. For just a little time, you're in the eye of the tomato, where all is quiet and serene, and there's no other place on earth where you want to be, because anyplace else would be less important. You are with Bob, and the face of Bob is yours.

Yeah...that's what's missing. Some time with Bob's face. The hour is late. A little glow scampers around the edge of the horizon as the night sets in. A companionable silence settles between you, but that's all right. In a world of meetings and formal events, face time is not a meeting, and is deeply informal in its heart. It has no specific purpose. It's not a gathering of 15 disassociated people at which Bob sees your face and you get to hear him authorize the seasonal marketing plan. Face time is formless, shapeless, ageless, a blob of time/space including nobody but you, Bob, and the possibility of...dare we say, friendship? Maybe so. Maybe not. At the very least, it's face. And in this cold and dangerous world, is not shared face something?

Come on now. Hey. Stop that little lip from quivering. There. That's better. It's been...what...more than a week since Bob called you and said, "Fritz! Can you come up for a couple of minutes and go over a few things?" You've been busy as a one-legged butt kicker that whole time and certainly have received at least a dozen memos from Bob on a wide variety of subjects indicating that you and your thought processes are still in good standing. Why, just Thursday morning you got an invitation to a key luncheon at which Bob will be speaking this coming June 14--a high honor indeed that proves you will probably still be viable at that date. And yet it's been eight days!

All right now! Wipe your nose. Give it a little blow. There. That's better. Now. What are we going to do about this situation?

We're going to get you some face time, that's what. Start out with a realistic head-set. Bob doesn't necessarily need your face as much as you need his. Bob has about 400 phone calls to return today. He has 89 decisions to make and about a thousand complex situations to resolve. Your face is not at the top of his list. In fact, unless you're a financial person in command of genuine information, Bob may not need to see your face at all for weeks at a time. It's nothing personal. Bob just assumes you have things to do that are not dependent on his face.

While that's true, face it: You now know that you need periodic Bobface in order to continue. Don't feel guilty. Your desire for quality face time with Bob is legitimate. You're not a horrible person for wanting it. All people need face time. In fact, one of the hardest things about being the top guy is that you have nobody to get face time with. You have to get face time with yourself, a vastly less satisfying experience than the real thing.

Be that as it may. You don't need Bob's face a lot, or all that often, but when you do need it, you really do, and to go too long without any of Bob's face at all, to experience a complete paucity of face...well, it's hard...

That's right. Get out from behind your desk. Grab at least one critical piece of paper that will form the beard for your discussion, the platform upon which you will build your face. Now get into the elevator. You're on your way.

First, we're going to head into the area. There's nothing specific going on. You just want to be around, that's all. Right. Here you are. Say hi to Roover, who's sucking around as usual, monopolizing Bob's face. Wait for him to leave. Take some time with Callie, Bob's person. She's got a lot on her plate, so don't get in her face, but say hi, trade a couple of rumors. Stay put. Unless you get a really bad vibe. Really bad vibe, get out of there. But if all seems in order, hang in. It's clear you're looking for face, but that's okay. Everybody looks for face sometime, or has looked for face, or realizes that he will one day be looking for face and need understanding.

Next, you'll want to pop your head into Bobspace. Again, care must be taken here. If Bob is engaged in some substantial way, you may be seen to be intruding into important doings with what, even you will admit, is essentially an emotional, personal-need vector. If you've timed things right, and the hour is appropriate, Bob just might wave you into the room with a cordial greeting.

Now that you're in the Bobzone, you may converse standing, testing the water to see if this will be short face, medium face, or long face. This is a crucial interstitial period, and you've got to be sensitive. People who convey a sense of greed about how much face they need often find themselves denied face altogether. Don't be too timid, though. It's just possible that Bob wants to confer some face at this point, and a lackluster, overly speedy exit will deny both of you the mutual face time you could possibly have shared. Face denied may never be offered again.

Once it's clear that your face is acceptable on a marginally protracted basis, you may enter and possibly even sit and share face. What happens then is up to you. Remember: It's not about business. Sure, there can be an extensive context, and you should most definitely have a list of stuff that you might not have had the opportunity to eradicate over the past several days of faceless noninteraction. But your laundry list of people to be hired or fired, projects to be wired or defenestrated, decision points on the text for the monthly message to security analysts, God bless 'em--none of these things are at the heart of face.

Face is laughter. Face is trading headaches, fears, dreams, triumphs. Face is remembering how much you just might have in common when all the grunge and flotsam have been cleared away, the core laid bare. It's about humanity, damn it. And humanity, if it is to exist, must have a face. Without a face, all it is is work.

After a time you will know that you've had your face and that face time is over, and if it went the way it should, you've been renewed, refueled. Stand. Stride to the door. Thank Bob for his face and give it back to him with no regrets. You're back in the groove. You're cooking with gas. Grab your coat and get your hat and get out of there.

On the way home you break into a low whistle. Perhaps you even find yourself humming. What a day it has been! What a rare mood you're in!

Why, it's almost like being in...business!

By day, Stanley Bing is a real executive at a real Fortune 500 company he'd rather not name.