Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Bring on the dancing conference bears
With the onset of the global financial crisis we can take some comfort from one thing, the demise of the company sponsored 3 day conference. I wear the scars of many a conference of bad food, powerpoint eye strain and thin red marks on my wrists from trying to sever an artery with a sheet of butcher's paper. When that email arrives it stares right back at you like confirmation of a cancerous growth. A conference has been scheduled it says, and it is compulsory it says. What it should say is if we have to go to these stupid bloody things then so do you. You pack an ever so small suitcase for the journey to the lost valley of conference hell to join your fellow cell mates for three days of organised group think. Surprise activities it says, all nominated in the name of fun. The fun soon dies away when the company logo printed polo shirts arrive and yet another afternoon is spent doing things that are so far removed from your everyday life you wonder if this was some kind of reality series you were on but didn't get the memo. My all time favourite was one where we had to embrace the new organisation structure (which resulted in job losses of dear friends might I add) by making puppets and putting on a show to demonstrate our endorsement of the new way forward. I'm still in therapy for that one.
You suffer through another motivational speaker, this time a coach or somebody associated with a sporting team of some sort. He tells you all about the strategies for the game and for the people. In an attempt to be down to earth, because everyone saw his Lamborghini parked out the front, he says things like "we have a no dickhead policy". I wanted to point out that if someone on his team is called Spider then clearly the policy isn’t working, but I decided to remain silent as I saw some in the room lapping up this stuff. The days blur into a haze of coloured whiteboard markers and 'let's break into groups' syndrome leaving you with an unexplained craving for more bain marie hash browns. At the end of the 3 days you come back feeling more motivated than ever. More motivated than ever to look for another job. God bless the GFC.