June 8, 2007
My office has this wonderful concept of quarterlies. (For those of you who’ve not met with this particular concept before, a quarterly is a team outing that happens once a quarter.) My immediate team, being a team of three who are in a constant state of barely-disguised hostility, has made a fine art of avoiding quarterlies like the plague.

Unfortunately, this was noticed by upper management and attributed to the fact that our manager sits halfway across the globe from us (which is in general a good thing). We were, therefore, cordially invited to join the senior managers in their quarterly, which was positioned as a quarterly for “managers and employees who report to remote managers”. This basically boiled down to senior managers and the three of us.

Since the civil war in our team has resulted in a two-against-one polarization, the person on the one side gracefully declined the invitation, leaving the two of us to face the torture. (Yes, torture – what else would you call being closeted with a dozen senior managers for an entire day???)

Well, we both were dreading it, but politeness demanded that we attend, and neither of us could leave the other to attend alone, so we decided to take the plunge together. And guess what… it wasn’t so bad. I mean, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was fun, but then again, given that it was a bunch of senior managers, it was as close to being fun as is humanly possible.

Of course, there were mitigating circumstances. Some bright spark had elected for a resort near Mysore (!) so we spent close to eight hours in the bus, as opposed to about five hours in the resort. This is good, because how bad can a bus ride be? In the worst case, you can always look out the window, or pretend to be asleep.

In the event, this was not required, because we whiled away time playing flush and bluff (some of the players getting carried away and trying to play one while others were on the other – e.g. playing “blind” in bluff) on the outward journey. Inescapably some very terrible antakshari had to be endured, but this soon died a natural death. Finally, came the turn of dumb charades and this not only lasted a good four hours, but also provided a great deal of entertainment to all.

Oh and, at lunch time when drinks were being ordered for all, we four women were automatically offered a choice between juice and soft drink, so I did a gender-bender and asked for a beer!

So all in all it was an almost-enjoyable experience… though I don’t think I’d want to repeat it in a hurry. Mixing with senior managers, some of it might rub off! (Christina – are you listening???)

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