Thursday, May 12, 2005

How We Leverage our Best of Breed...

You know, it’s funny what passes for “team building” in today’s corporate environment. It seems that no one is putting up the pretensions which used to surround these events. We used to AT LEAST pretend there was some actual ‘team building’ going on, when really it was just an excuse for the big brass to get hammered and cavort with underlings, away from their demeaning spouses. Well, that was the overriding suspicion anyhow. I have typically been an underling, so I have no idea what the purpose was. Nor did I care. We would all get blasted, and stupidity would ensue. No harm, no foul.

And not once was there any ‘team’ doing anything related to ‘work’ during those corporate card benders. It was just a fucked-up Tuesday night at some chic shit-hole, where on any other night I wouldn’t have taken free valet to enter in the first place.

But where I work today, the script has been completely flipped. Balanced on the stapled corner, if you will. Here, we COMPETE, individually, for ‘Team Building Day’. That’s right. Our idea of a ‘Team Building Event’ might be a foot race (no passing of batons), wrestling matches (no tag-teaming here), or… fuck it. We could just take IQ tests and the top half would be allowed to punch the lower half in the face.

Seriously, there is nothing ‘team-ish’ about any of our events. We’ve had kayak races (if you think kayaking is easy, fuck you. I almost vomited in my lap). Golf tournaments (what a MESS that one was). Go-Cart races (I got red-flagged, black-flagged, blue-flagged, you name it. Apparently, I have no manners on the track).

This year? Oh, THIS year?

Pinewood Derby race. That’s right kids. We have been given a hunk o’ pine, and we’re expected to whittle that fucker into something aerodynamic. Slap some wheels on it and cry like a leaky douche bag when it squeaks down the track with the pace of a wooden mollusk. Adults will be competing (individually, mind you) for the prestige, no, the honor of beating each other in such glorious competition. I say, we should race for fucking pinks. The winner has to take my piece of shit car. I plan to whittle a short bus from the wood block. Wheels and all.

With spinners on 24” low-pros, of course. My bus is gangsta, beeeitch. You betta aks sumbody.

So... where's the 'Team' element in this? Who cares. There better be free beer. Shit.


Girl With An Alibi said...

Our team building event is paintball. Which is probably more honest in that you can shoot the shit out of your teammates and send them home with pretty green welts and purple bruises. Of course they want us to sign up for this fun on our own time. thanks.

Anonymous said...

I can't help myself...

How will the initial thrust be provided for the vehicles? Pushing? Wind? Gravity? I am also assuming that the track is level, smooth and straight, correct?

Depending on how the vehicle will be propelled, I would probably try to get it as light as possible. In any event, I would try to get wheels with the greatest circumference, but with the least amount of area touching the ground (think of large thin plates). You should also consider the best way to minimize the amount of friction caused by where your axles will meet the body of the vehicle. Ideally, of course, I would think that you would want your axles to have zero "wobble", but the trade-off to this is that there might be more friction where it joins with the body because it is "locked" in more tightly.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and don't worry about aerodynamics. Unless you engineer your vehicle to deliberately sabotage yourself, my guess is that wind resistence won't make much of any difference.

Drew said...

Our last team-building circle jerkfest was beers at Hooters, followed by dinner at the $5.95 Italian buffet (I shit you not), followed by bowling and karaoke.

I spent the majority of the evening with a strong vodka cranberry in one hand. In fact, I bowled that way and I still beat everyone on my team.

Work sucks.

Truecraig said...

GWAA: Paintball can be fun for the following groups: tripping teens, retired military groups who still feel the need to ‘strategize’, and people who harbor deep-seated but quietly capped hatred for everyone else they are playing with. I know which group my workmates and I are, and it wouldn’t be pretty. I mean, we don’t the budget for THAT much acid.

We have to do all this shit on our free time too. That kinda blows donkey nards. (I *finally* added your link, even though I’ve been visiting your page without it for a while now)

Anon: Damn. You’re a goddamn cubscout. Or you should be. At least a Bear, maybe Weblo. Weblo… Hell, we all blow, right!?! Hey-oooooh!!! Am I right!?! Am… I. Okay then. Maybe not. Thanks for the advice. I will be sure to build some of those features into the short bus I am designing. I’ve already modeled it using a CAD program, and I will be sending my axle designs off for fabrication this weekend. I’m still not sure if I can find a nitrous oxide canister small enough. Not sure about your discs-for-wheels exchange though. That sounds… unsound.

Drew: your ‘team building’ event sounds absotively hilarious. I mean, THAT’S some real eventing for teams. Team Karaoke? That is beyond sweet. And by sweet, I mean: absolutely ridiculous. It would be so much more fun than a pine wood derby race. Only 8 year-olds and 80 year-olds get a kick out of whittling. Killing me over here.

And yes, work sucks. If it didn’t, no one would pay me for it.

Truecraig said...

OH! Anon:

The way that the race works is thus:

The track is aluminum, and multiple cars race at the same time (in heats). The track is essentially a 'drop' design. A ramp, if you will. The cars just roll down the damn ramp to a stretch of flat track. The first to the end takes home a steamin' bowl of pride. And when I say 'pride', I mean 'dick'.

Usually the mechanism which releases the cars at the top of the track is a single servo, motorized system which guarantees that all cars are released simultaneously. There are a billion websites out there, dedicated to the art of winning what is, in this reality, a race of pure chance. There are many, many, many rules regarding design elements, weight, dimensions, materials, blah-blah-blah, which all add up to: everyone’s car, outside of aesthetics, is essentially the same. So we’re all dancing with chaos when considering how to win the thing.

I might whittle a turd with wheels, driven by a piece of corn. That’s class right there.

Sara said...

Turd driven by corn, that's fucking classic. If you do that, please please please post a picture.
I work for a huge corporation and yet the closest thing we get to team building would probably be our annual Christmas food and drunkfest. The uppity people come and eat their fucking lobster dinner and bail but the rest of us took our filet mignon in doggy bags and headed to the free bar. What a night that turned out to be. Can't wait till next year.

Anonymous said...

Forget aerodynamics, shape it into a ball!!! Darn, I don't have the pleasure to indulge in any workplace activities... I better find a job quick, I don't know what i'm missing!

brother nick

Truecraig said...

Sara, one can only hope for a free bar at any corporate event. The only team I'm interested in building is Team Free Booze. I LOOOOVE open bar events, especially when there's uppity coworkers involved. I usually end up staggering around telling lies, acting like my IQ is actually three digits in size, and bragging about high I can jump. That makes for a great xmas party in my book.

Brother, you know exactly what you're missing. Money and irritation. Those are the two most common elements of any hired-labor/corporate-whore situation. Unless you sell porn door-to-door.

Sean said...

The turd or the short bus. Damn, that's a hard choice to have to make. Either way you really do need to take photos.