This is the seventh in a series of repeated posts (e.g. published elsewhere before) from outside of China, detailing the start of my expatriate life. There will always be a post a day about China so if you’re not interested in other material – you can stop reading now.
It’s a boiling hot summer’s day, 40/45 in the shade, and demonstrating all the genius of the average trainer, my colleague who booked the day has arranged for the whole day’s events to be conducted outdoors with no access to AC at all, and a hot sweaty tent for shade. If this was not bad enough there is also no access to cold drinks, the water supply has been left in direct sunlight in plastic bottles for a good long while and there is no refrigeration at all.
The day starts well though, with the obligatory speeches from a senior management team, who with only one exception manage to deliver short and interesting and better still, amusing pieces to the assembled mass and everyone is feeling pretty good.
Then we are off to the first exercise, synchronised drumming, with us as drummers. This must have seemed a better idea on paper, than it turned out to be in practice. With a consumer team made of young energetic people I am sure this would have been great fun. However our Enterprise team is made up of middle aged men and women, who are techy, geeky and with all the sense of rhythm of an epileptic in the bath. Everybody perseveres and tries to look like they are having a good time when the gaze of management turns upon them, but it is crap and we know it.
We are then paired up at random, I am paired with a very serious, very heterosexual, very manly, and very funny Syrian chap, who looks a bit like the blue eagle faced Henson creation from Sesame street (without the blue of course). To our absolute delight, our next task is to paint each other’s faces. Neither of us feels like participating in this particular “trust” activity, so we decide that we will each put one line on the other’s cheek, and then go and wash our hands after this “suspect” breach of our manly code.
We return from washing our hands, to be told we need to add more paint, gritting our teeth we do, neither of us is sure how this is going to help us be part of a better team, but we do because management are watching again.
Did I mention it was hot? It was also humid. Five minutes later the paint is running off of me in a river of sweat all over my nice white company t-shirt, I now appear to have arrived at the party after butchering a clown.
I’ll pick up with more from this day, tomorrow. Thanks for reading.