No no. This isn’t an Italian recipe post. It’s a post about a humiliating team-building exercise involving pasta. Obviously.
As some of you know, I spend my days working as a certified Project Management Professional in the pharmaceutical industry. Because what else would a gal with a Creative Writing degree and an aversion to doctors do? Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good job for many reasons, and I’m grateful to have it. The people I work with aren’t even nincompoops.
But there’s one thing I hate.
And that’s Team-Building Exercises.
No matter how well we know each other, or how team-y we’ve become, they won’t give it a rest. On Thursday, we had yet another staff meeting, featuring yet another mysterious team-building exercise. After seeing the draft agenda, I immediately tried to devise ways to get out early, before the game show questions or trust falls could begin. I still had 20 of those heroin cough suppressants; maybe I would O.D.
In the end, because I have a tendency to think one false move will get me canned, I went along with it. Again. This time the team-building exercise was a spin on the show Minute to Win It. They divided us into 4 teams, and we played 10 rounds. In each round, a single team member from the 4 teams had to complete a task in 60 seconds or less. Every time you did, you earned a point for your team. The winning team members all got $10 iTunes gift cards.
Not bad. And you know what? It was -I can’t believe I’m about to say this- fun.
Watching coworkers try to unravel rolls of streamers by flapping their arms like deranged flamingos (or in one man’s case, a flag squad champion), and others try to get a cookie from their forehead to their mouth without touching it, was breathtaking. In the good way.
Oh yes. I yucked it up.
Until my turn.
But my task didn’t look too hard.
I had to put an uncooked piece of spaghetti in my mouth, and try to ‘string’ 5 small pieces of penne on it – without using my hands. I put the spaghetti strand in my mouth and knelt on the ground in front of the table holding the penne, trying to ignore the fact that multiple people had their cameras out.
The timer started and the pasta wobbled between my teeth like Lindsay Lohan on the set of Glee. The circumference of the penne now looked like a pinhole. I somehow managed to get the first piece of penne on the spaghetti, then almost dropped it. “Aw, she’s shaking,” one team member called out, while another added, “You can do it! Don’t worry! Don’t look at the clock!” With 10 seconds left, and nearly a dozen people hovering over me, I had only gotten two of the five pieces of penne on the spaghetti. I was a pasta-stringing failure. How had I made it this far in life?
My teammates graciously applauded me, and I, red-faced and sweaty, tried to shrink into the background. I was 30 years old, for the love of all that’s vodka, and this was just a silly game. So why did it take a half an hour before I stopped wanting to cry?
Does this happen to you? Do you get freaked out in ‘public’ situations like this? How do you feel about team-building exercises?
P.S. – In case you were wondering, we came in second place.
P.P.S. – Screw you, team-building exercises. I never liked you.
***SUPER IMPORTANT ALERT THAT YOUR HAPPINESS PROBABLY DEPENDS ON: I’m wrapping up the Go Guilty Pleasures slap bracelet extravaganza, so if you have any unseen slap bracelet pictures, I hope you’ll send them to me at Julie.Davidoski@yahoo.com. Oh and I think you’re swell. Even if you don’t have a slap bracelet.***