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This is the ninth 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. :-)

Yes, really - Burj Al Arab and helicopters - but sadly it wasn't to be that day.

The instructors have had enough but they decide it will be a great idea for us to keep doing stupid things. They give us a bag load of strange instruments (musical ones) and divide us into teams, we have to write a song using only the company name for a lyric, and the instruments in the bag for the music. Then they tell us there is a fabulous prize for the best entry (they refuse to tell us what, leading people to believe it will be better than it actually is, after all last time the company offered a prize in training it was a 3 day stay in the Burj-Al-Arab the world’s nicest hotel and a helicopter tour of the city) and then sod off to sit in their air conditioned cars leaving us to flounder.

This is a mistake. A big bleeping mistake. Most of us don’t give a toss anymore – we are dehydrated, hungry, and bored stiff. We all have the musical talent of asparagus, and don’t want to play anymore. However, a few intrepid souls motivated by the thought of that amazing prize are determined for us all to participate.

A slight Indian lad is leading the charge in our team; he’s telling everyone they’ll have to walk home if they don’t take part. One of my Emirati colleagues a squat pugnacious lad with a hint of professional boxer about him, laughs in his face. The Indian guy quite naturally responds by telling him to go and procreate with himself. This is a bigger mistake than the exercise we are doing, Arabs do not like being sworn at, at all, it is a far bigger insult than our Indian colleague realises, until he is punched in the face.

A brawl ensues, with everyone from the team taking sides and squaring up to each other, leaving me to play peacemaker. I am holding on to both of them, and trying to keep them apart at arm’s length while pointing out how stupid it would be to get fired on a team building day. Though even I will admit it has descended into team-beating now rather than team building. They calm down eventually and someone goes to tell the instructors we are withdrawing from the event.

And here's an actual helicopter taking off from the heli-pad on that world famous hotel.

The day ends with a slideshow of pictures taken during our ritual humiliation; even scowls from the management team cannot prompt anyone into action for a round of applause at the end.

It’s a real shame, they spent a lot of money on this, but it was the worst team building event I have ever been on. My training colleague who organised this will be fired two days later, it’s her only contribution in 6 months and it’s been a disaster. Weirdly before this happens – she will win the “employee of the month” award for arranging it…

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