Taz was eager to turn his new little website-building company into Seattle’s premier website creator. He figured that the best way to channel his employee’s creative forces was to make them feel more like a team, rather than a handful of coworkers.
Heather was a bit more skeptical. Although she appreciated the team approach, becoming a group who can bounce ideas off one another and getting the creative juices flowing, as the office manager she had the inside knowledge of one who has seen this particular group of people day in and day out. She was also privy to all the office gossip and drama, including who was wasting office hours video chatting with his girlfriend in Pakistan, who was likely to come in late because of a certain all-night gaming party, or who was likely to swipe your tuna fish sandwich sitting in the fridge.
Besides, like Terence, this group of people wasn’t exactly your adventuring outdoors type. Heather wasn’t sure how they would cope for an entire five days basking in the glow of natural sunlight, rather than a computer monitor.
Everyone seemed excited, however, so the plans were set for the office retreat near the end of May.
The team met early on a sunny Monday morning, with their duffel bags, pillows, and laptops, ready to embark on their outdoor adventure. They then carpooled to the ferry, which would take them across the Puget Sound to get to the Olympic Peninsula.
While the team was excitedly looking out the windows of the ferry, watching the water as it crested on the sides of the boat and keeping an eye out for any signs of sea creatures emerging from the waves, Heather thought it would be a good time to get everyone gathered together for a brief meeting on Taz’s expectations for the retreat.
“Alright, people,” she began, looking around at all her pale-faced co-workers. “Taz was disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to come up to the retreat until the end of the week, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have some expectations as far as what we accomplish.” She heard a few groans, but chose to ignore them.
“First off, since we are all still getting paid this week, he expects that we will use our time wisely, thinking of ways to implement what we are learning into our work. This also means that he expects everyone to fully participate in the scheduled activities and training sessions which Camp Union has set up for us.”
Heather saw a few faces starting to cringe a little, and hoped that the camp’s activities and trainings were something her crew could handle. Terence’s face was starting to take on a greenish hue.
“Lastly,” she continued, “Taz wants us to use this experience to bond us together like a team. Let’s get to know each other and learn how to work together in the most efficient ways we can, so that we can make this company a huge success!”
Heather wasn’t used to being a cheerleader. She wasn’t sure how to do it. It didn’t help that as she ended her little speech, Terence suddenly bolted up, his hand over his mouth, and ran for the bathroom.
She could tell that this was going to be a long week.
Once the ferry docked, the team drove an hour and a half, winding through the mountain roads to get to Camp Union. Heather was glad that she wasn’t in the car with Terence, who hadn’t looked fully recovered from the ferry ride when they started off. She had Gary, Pete, and Martina in her car. The guys spent most of the drive arguing over the best way to integrate two systems into a single interface, while Martina’s eyes and attention never left her smart phone.
After several wrong turns and detours, getting lost on unmarked roads that were covered in gravel, they finally found the little wooden sign which pointed out the turnoff to Camp Union. As the roads became more narrow and rough, the trees became more dense and the sky began to grow dark with ominous-looking black clouds. Martina issued an exaggerated sigh of frustration at the lack of cell phone reception, finally giving up and putting the phone in her bag. By the time they passed under the entrance sign which read “Welcome to Camp Union: Building Teams Since 1924,” it was pouring rain.
Check back tomorrow to see how the techie team fares in the mud and rain and with no cell service! It may be a techies worse nightmare!