Sunday, January 23, 2005

Office Survivor: Four days on a desert island with my co-workers

I’m shipping off tomorrow to spend four days on a remote island for work.

Half the office is being sent to a professional development workshop at a ‘retreat centre’ on Bowen Island. A retreat centre is not a hotel. There is no Internet access, no television, no bar, no swimming pool, no fitness centre, no alarm clock, no room service, no chocolate on the pillowcase, no pillow period.

I’ll be trapped in a primitive mountaintop lodge with my co-workers, a couple of consultants and not much else for four days. This can only go one of two ways – it will either be a tedious nightmare or a lot of fun.

Luckily for me, I happen to like the people I work with so I’m looking forward to it (and I’m not just saying that because I’m worried my boss will read this and fire me. I really do like my co-workers. Besides, I’m way too valuable and popular to get fired).

According to the agenda, there will be some free time in the evenings. I’ve already invited everyone to a party in my room on Monday night with vodka and Ukrainian dancing.

I’ve also packed some board games and a deck of cards in my suitcase. If no one wants to play with me, at least I can entertain myself with a few rounds of solitaire. Or I can entertain myself figuring out how to play solitaire with an actual deck of cards since I’ve only ever played it on the computer.

However, if there are any role-playing games or those trust exercises where you stand in front of someone (not facing them), close your eyes, fall backwards and hope they catch you, I’m jumping off the island and swimming back to Vancouver.

Either way, I won’t be writing in this space for a little while. But I’m sure I’ll have lots of material by the time I get back. Give me strength!


Anonymous said...

THAT SOUNDS AWESOME!!!!! I am so jealous! I'm trying to recover from this blizzard here...I will miss your posts. They are one of the highlights of my day. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

"Besides, I’m way too valuable and popular to get fired."

There has to be at least one person in every civilization who is too valuable and popular to be fired.

Bill D.
Unfortunately, not one of those persons

thestraightpoop said...

I'm not one of those people either, Bill D. Have fun Sarah!!!


Jeff said...

I remember the first time I had to do something like this, only it was camping in the wild of Nova Scotia, with a bunch of NASCAR loving, ATV riding, snowmobiling "men". Needless to say, I was quite out of place.

Too bad you didn't win with the Blog awards. I stumbled across your site and after a few good chuckles, casted on a vote. Actually, I actually enjoy running and swimming myself, so based on similar interests, I guess I was kind of biased.

Hope that the vodka festivities went well, and that you didn't find yourself too out of wack.

Looking forward to some of your next posts, and wish you all the best up north - I really miss Canada.

Anonymous said...

OK. Not only did I used to work with the same group of people, but I have had my own experiences with the "mountaintop retreat" on Bowan Island. It was actually pretty posh, for a place that makes you make your own bed and clean the bathroom at the end of your stay. And, to be honest, it was a tedious nightmare, and a lot of fun, and pretty enlightening, and terribly draining. More than anything, it felt like family therapy of some sort; too bad that all families are just dysfunctional in their way, and no retreat/therapy session will fix that.

I think what these sessions do is just help you better identify the sources of your dysfunction (and hence hopefully deal with it better). That, and they create some sort of deeper bond out of shared trauma. Must be basic human psychology - people who go through painful experiences together are more likely to remain committed to each other. Alternately, it's a means of flushing out those who just can't take this particular form of dysfunction, regardless of how great the people are - you see things for what they really are and make your decisions accordingly.

Um, yeah, so I enjoyed the retreat I went on with this bunch, and came back feeling motivated, but sometimes the challenges facing a workplace seem to be more than motivation can deal with.

But, it sure was fun drinking lots of wine late into the night. So, Sarah, I hope you come back charged, and I hope it lasts.


Sarah said...

For the record, I don't actually believe I'm too valuable and popular to get fired. While it's true that I am valuable and popular, my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek when I wrote that.

The retreat was good and bad. But I'll save it for another day.