The nightmare of forced fun and positivity at work

What's your worst experience of forced positivity?

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Afternoon all,

The end of September marks 'International Happiness Week at work' an event which, unsurprisingly, looks to champion happiness in the workplace. A noble goal of course, but a bit too soppy for my liking. With that said, I wanted to flip this on its head a bit and ask if any of you had dealt with that very specific kind of corporate happiness we all loath.

Forced teambuilding exercises, awkward pizza parties and the incessant sound of foosball coming from the breakroom come to mind when I think back to some of my previous jobs, but I want to hear some of your experiences. Let me know in the comments below; I'm looking forward to this one!

Replies (20)

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Mark Lee headshot 2023
By Mark Lee
12th Sep 2023 14:45

I once attended a team building event run by ex-army colleagues of the Chief Exec. We met up in the middle of nowhere and broke into groups to explore different skills. the two that I remember most vividly were camouflage (which involved crawling around the woods under nets) and how to shoot at the enemy - using what felt like very real rifles which we fired while lying on the ground a good distance from our targets. It was fascinating but also scary, cold, damp and did NOTHING for team building!

Thanks (1)
Replying to bookmarklee:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Sep 2023 15:45

There is a remarkable number of bosses who think what they think is fun, will be fun for the whole team.

ie the golf day..............which is rubbish unless you play golf
The Rugby / Cricket / Football when you don't follow the relevant sport
Even the day at the races which is usually OK with most, is a tad poor if you don't drink or gamble

one my ex-client* likes to take his top sales staff on a weeks skiing holiday which is fine if you are the type who has been going since you are 8, but for council house scum like me its not even an option.

*it was blatantly a BIK in my opinion, not his.

Thanks (1)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
12th Sep 2023 15:58

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

one my ex-client* likes to take his top sales staff on a weeks skiing holiday which is fine if you are the type who has been going since you are 8, but for council house scum like me its not even an option
.

Surely you had those metal beer trays for belting down a snowy hill .

We used to go down the hill at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, on anything that worked (notwithstanding the drop at the bottom of the slope and the frozen pond)

https://www.filmedinburgh.org/Locations/Inverleith-Park-690/Pond-Pano

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Sep 2023 16:35

DJKL wrote:

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

one my ex-client* likes to take his top sales staff on a weeks skiing holiday which is fine if you are the type who has been going since you are 8, but for council house scum like me its not even an option
.

Surely you had those metal beer trays for belting down a snowy hill .

We used to go down the hill at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, on anything that worked (notwithstanding the drop at the bottom of the slope and the frozen pond)

https://www.filmedinburgh.org/Locations/Inverleith-Park-690/Pond-Pano

Not enough snow where I was dragged up. Or hills.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Catherine Newman
12th Sep 2023 17:31

Love this!

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Replying to bookmarklee:
Caroline
By accountantccole
13th Sep 2023 11:03

We had a team day with Deloittes which included clay pigeon shooting. Completely freaked out one of my South African colleagues who had been in an armed robbery. Panic attack and had to leave the rifle range.

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By Justin Bryant
12th Sep 2023 14:53

I think we used to say "positiveness", rather than "positivity", though I can't be positive.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
12th Sep 2023 15:07

I might, if my occasional colleague is in office, offer to top up his coffee if I am in the kitchen anyway. (He is also a simple black no sugar otherwise would not make the offer)

I think that is probably as far as we would go with office socialising and team building.

Thanks (5)
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By Crouchy
12th Sep 2023 15:08

I once worked with a real whinger of a lady, lets call her Dave to protect her identity.

on a team building exercise, we went quad biking, poor old Dave misjudged the run up to a ford when crossing a river and drove staight into the deep bit. Dave was well and truely stuck and remained sat on the quad bike, up to her chest in freezing water.

it was too deep for us to help (honest guv), so we had leave her and go back to the activity centre to alert the staff to rescue her, but by chance we found a pub on the way back and had swift pint, meaning she was stuck for a tad longer than necessary

happy times

Thanks (1)
Replying to Crouchy:
By SteveHa
12th Sep 2023 15:13

Crouchy wrote:

I once worked with a real whinger of a lady, lets call her Dave to protect her identity.

I think I know her.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Crouchy:
By JCresswellTax
13th Sep 2023 10:19

Now signs letters

Regards,
Dave
She/Him

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Replying to JCresswellTax:
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By Kaylee100
14th Sep 2023 23:03

JCresswellTax wrote:

Now signs letters

Regards,
Dave
She/Him

It's Rodney !

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By JamesDS
13th Sep 2023 09:49

Not my horror story (although I have a few), but here's one related to me in the late 90's...
On a company away-day my perfect gentleman boss decides to go for a Jacuzzi. He undresses in the changing room and, now naked but for his towel, goes through to the tub, climbs in and soon falls asleep. Shortly afterwards, one of the (very attractive) female senior managers also fancies a Jacuzzi. She changes into her bikini and slips quietly into the water to avoid waking my boss. Soon my boss awakes and a few facts become immediately apparent to him:
1. It's a unisex hot tub.
2. He's naked.
3. His towel is hanging over a chair several feet from the tub.
4. The female manager doesn't know any of this.
5. The bikini is very small.
The story was told to me by the female manager, who added that the bikini was yellow and she was horrified to discover that when she got into the water, it went almost completely transparent.
I did not enquire how the story ended.

Thanks (3)
Replying to JamesDS:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
13th Sep 2023 10:27

So, she got a rise.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Dib
14th Sep 2023 16:57

"giggle"

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By Democratus
13th Sep 2023 11:32

A former workplace had a day of "training" where we were introduced to the company's overarching policies around how we were expected to behave. This was quite a while ago and involved words like humbleness (shudder). Anyway Finance were getting more and more unhappy to the extent that my staff didn't want to attend any more in the afternoon when it was discovered that the company ethos was expected to extend to our personal lives. Long story short, I said Finance were not attending the next session nor would we embrace the big picture ethos in our non work life. That was accepted and it took HR/Training 1/2 an hour to convince me to stay for the "fun" bit in the evening. I had the food and b***ered off.

Left shortly after that.

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By petestar1969
13th Sep 2023 15:38

My old boss used to make us go on Teambuilding days to boost morale or some such other nonsense.

I remember one where you did various activities - safe cracking, axe throwing (at targets not other), walking around blindfolded trying to avoid stepping on lasers, working out how to get a box out of a 10 foot square bit of ground with only ropes.... you get the idea.

All it did really was to increase the divide between team members. People who already didn't really like me liked me even less when I worked out how to crack the safe quicker than them and so on...

Lazy members of the team were lazy in the exercises too. The only positive was we all got a "free" dinner and beer afterwards. It was during work time though...

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
13th Sep 2023 20:19

Once went on a team-building day where the theme turned out to be a re-enactment of a school sports day. So we spent the day doing relay races, 5 a side football, etc (in gym kit) at a posh hotel.

Only thing was it was the same day as the local BMW dealer launched a new model at the same hotel, so we were in full view of all the punters going past in the new 3 series...

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By Kaylee100
14th Sep 2023 22:57

I hate social events. I'm almost certainly on a spectrum of some sort.

I'm quite happy in the office chatting and meeting people over time so I'm not unsociable per se, but forced dinners or activities I find very difficult.

At the last one I went to, we had a treasure hunt quiz. I sat back, typical me, and watched while one team member took the list and wouldn't let anyone see it - he just spoke the next question and waited with his pen for answers to be supplied, one who was always right so he had to put her answer down if she had one and another social firework - who would run around and chat to anyone including other teams as they passed or even random strangers.

I came to the conclusion we are all on some sort of spectrum and if those personalities gel you'll get a good day and if they don't you are screwed. But like good work colleagues, you get on with it and waste 7 hours of chargeable time you are never getting back and could have done with when January comes.

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By Kaylee100
14th Sep 2023 23:05

Ahhh...I understand this year they are doing a murder mystery. Now,that could well be quite entertaining.

Or, maybe, I misunderstand.

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