Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Building a team

Today was an odd day - it was our annual team away day at work, where the morning is spent planning our service for the next twelve months, and the afternoon is spent doing "team building exercises."

I have been on numerous team-building days in the past few years, since starting work. In my very first job, after a couple of days in work, I was forced to attend a WEEKEND of these activities with the entire team (all of whom knew each other). The indescribable horror of being placed in this unwinnable social disaster zone was made worse when the sleeping arrangements were revealed to me (communal dorm), and most of my new colleagues appeared utterly unaware of the concepts of personal space or modesty. I saw more nudity that weekend than I care to reminisce about. Needless to say my time at that firm was short-lived and mentally distressing.

However, it did plumb the very depths of "team-building" despair. I doubt very much whether such experiences will come my way again. Despite this though, each subsequent suggestion of a team building day has been greeted with a familiar string of emotions:

1) What on earth are we doing this for? Why can't I just be left alone? Please God don't let there be dorms and nudity...
2) We don't need to "team-build." If the team weren't "built" already, then 8 hours a day together would result in murder. Since it doesn't, we are therefore already a team. So I'm not doing it.
3) I feel a slight twinge. I'm not doing it.
4) Ok, since the threat of disciplinary action looms, I am doing it.
5) Who the hell is this guy in the military fatigues? Is that a stopwatch he's carrying?
6) So, let me get this straight... You want us to lift that bucket of water over there, using only some twine and those gloves?
7) Man alive, I didn't know she could do THAT with her legs... I thought she could only type.
8) Actually this is quite good fun.
9) It is clear to me that private fantasies about winning The Krypton Factor couldn't have been further from the truth.
10) YAY! Our team won! Ha ha! Brains over braun my friends. Brains. Over. Braun.

And so it was today, when my ragged bunch of colleagues and I assembled at the City Learning Centre in Chadderton to be put through our paces on the coldest day of the year by the friendly folk from British Military Fitness. There were numerous tasks, including steering my blindfolded colleagues through a "minefield" and carrying a bucket of "nuclear devices" out of a "dangerous part of town" using only a rope.

The repeated collisions with mines in the minefield, and the spillage of the entire bucket of nuclear weapons, reminded me why I never joined the armed forces. There was also a moment during a mission involving the recovery of a radio from a "swamp" when parts of me came physically closer to parts of a female colleague than should be illegal outside of a fully consenting and serious relationship.

But good fun was had by all. And our team won which was the important thing of course.

So we are well and truly team-built now.

Unfortunately the business planning part of the day got away from us somewhat. So although we can all now construct 8 equalateral triangles from six poles in a field of grass, we don't have a service improvement plan for 2007-8...

Since I had the taste for the Great Outdoors already, I went leafletting on the way home as well, knocking off Butt Hill Avenue, Butt Hill Drive, that little bit of Bury New Road, and the Kersal Road stretch too.

And now I think I am in for the night. Because it is far too cold to go out again!


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