Author Topic: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun  (Read 7049 times)

foghorn

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Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« on: January 11, 2020, 01:12:35 PM »
As I am still working at MegaCorp due to a serious case of OMY Syndrome, I am regularly confronted with activities that can be described as Corporate Cringe (phrase stolen from a YouTuber - who does a great series on this) and also events that are best described as Forced Fun.

On a regular basis I am subjected to the Corporate Cheerleaders who want to "high five", celebrate and create recognition for the most mundane of tasks.  Tasks that are best described as someone simply doing their job.  What makes it even worse is that if I am not super excited and willing to take part in these "voluntary activities", I am am the guy with a bad attitude.

Some examples are the recent Halloween where everyone was "encouraged" to dress up for the day.  I did a WFH as I could not take it.  Then there is the twice a month requirement (posted on your calendar) to send a co-worker a card of recognition.  Rather than recognizing a coworker for a job well done in an authentic and legitimate manner - it needs to be scheduled and strongly encouraged on an every other week basis.  I also opt out of this.  My last example is the department bulletin board where you are "encouraged" to post pictures of you and co-workers doing something fun.

All of this is supposed to help build a Team Spirit - but it really seems to just be one more task that people either feel forced to do - or - do not take part in and then fear the wrath of the organizers.

I find so many of these things to be a desperate need for attention by the people who set them up. 

So, what examples or stories do you folks have of Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun?  I suspect that there are some great ones to share.

Papa bear

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2020, 04:08:11 PM »
Honestly, that’s the stuff I MISS about working at megacorp.  It was the actual work, micromanaging BS that wasn’t so appealing...


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AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 04:25:19 PM »
As I am still working at MegaCorp due to a serious case of OMY Syndrome, I am regularly confronted with activities that can be described as Corporate Cringe (phrase stolen from a YouTuber - who does a great series on this) and also events that are best described as Forced Fun.

On a regular basis I am subjected to the Corporate Cheerleaders who want to "high five", celebrate and create recognition for the most mundane of tasks.  Tasks that are best described as someone simply doing their job.  What makes it even worse is that if I am not super excited and willing to take part in these "voluntary activities", I am am the guy with a bad attitude.

Some examples are the recent Halloween where everyone was "encouraged" to dress up for the day.  I did a WFH as I could not take it.  Then there is the twice a month requirement (posted on your calendar) to send a co-worker a card of recognition.  Rather than recognizing a coworker for a job well done in an authentic and legitimate manner - it needs to be scheduled and strongly encouraged on an every other week basis.  I also opt out of this.  My last example is the department bulletin board where you are "encouraged" to post pictures of you and co-workers doing something fun.

All of this is supposed to help build a Team Spirit - but it really seems to just be one more task that people either feel forced to do - or - do not take part in and then fear the wrath of the organizers.

I find so many of these things to be a desperate need for attention by the people who set them up. 

So, what examples or stories do you folks have of Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun?  I suspect that there are some great ones to share.

I think the yearly conference with games is totally Forced Fun, but the bit that was the real kicker was the skit that each department was required to come up with and perform at said conference. Frickin painful, ridiculous idiocy.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 10:44:51 PM »
i wouldn't mind the dress-up. Sounds fun.

I found the corporate events/junkets to be a complete waste of time, but when I'm getting paid to go to a nice hotel for free, I ain't complaining.

The forced team spirit stuff like sending acknowledgment etc etc is a little annoying but not the worst thing in the world. However I did hate the team meetings. Never understood why you couldn't just send an email bulletin around.

Anyway, pretty happy that I am no longer working for an organisation, but I do miss the junkets.

Dave1442397

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 10:04:08 AM »
The photo thing could be fun. A little photoshop work and you could be posting a pic with a title like "Here I am with <insert stuffy corporate VP> trying out butt plug tails at the cosplay convention".

sixwings

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2020, 07:15:11 PM »
The bulletin board seems fine. We have one that occasionally rotates what we post pics of (baby pics, kid pics, etc.), but it's not required, forced or even really talked about except when the theme rotates. The required recognition is bizarre, who thinks that's a good idea?

Stuff like halloween dress up is fun, as long as it's forced. We do all this stuff but I've never felt forced into doing it.

nippycrisp

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2020, 01:08:28 AM »
Taken from my journal, in which I spend much time describing the soulless Megapharma I work(ed!) for:

MegaPharma used to throw a lavish Christmas party every year, in the massive ballroom of a hotel. 2,000+ people attended, so this was a very big, very expensive event that was immediately forgotten. The experience itself was forgettable - much self-congratulation, corporate rah-rah, etc. But hey, free food is free food.

The year in question, the higher-ups decided that we needed to GIVE BACK this season. MegaPharma was (and is) big into creating an image as selfless, community-oriented company that CARES. About everything. That means we talk about things like "patient experience" instead of simply figuring out if a medicine does what it's supposed to. We also have something called corporate social responsibility, i.e., token donations to community orgs. Practically, this means that MegaPharma makes donations that give a maximal return on PR while costing a minimum of money and effort. Sometimes these boondoggles make no sense; for example, we have an annual employee volunteer day where they encourage scientists like me, who are - not to be too melodramatic - literally curing cancer, to go out and rake mulch at a playground MegaPharma is refurbishing (and be sure to take photos for our PR folks!). Is that really a good use of my time? Speaking from firsthand experience, living in this world of fake charity is a serious source of lowered empathy and compassion fatigue.

Anyway, this Christmas party was, apparently, just another way to demonstrate that WE CARE. When we arrived, each employee was sorted into groups and told that we would be given a surprise holiday party task. The job: each group was to assemble (from parts) and decorate a children's bike, that would subsequently be donated to "poor black kids" (these words were said by our (admittedly foreign) CEO, before he was shushed by one of the event-planning flacks).

This is the kind of fake-charity shit I'm talking about. Low-effort/high-visibility and meaningless one-off stuff. All it required was a few shitty Wal Mart bikes and the willingness to drop a dollop of shitty forced work into a company social event.

Nevertheless, I had been at MegaPharma long enough to know that, when the music started playing, you were expected to dance. So I did what anyone else would in the situation: I got drunk real fast, ate the expensive-looking shrimp cocktail, and set to building the fucking bike.

The exercise was, if nothing else, highly illuminative about the real-world skills of corporate white-collar types. Almost everyone on the team was useless at this simple hands-on task. The only two guys who were any use were me (I've worked on bikes for a long time) and another guy, who I later found out was a senior VP of something-or-other. We slopped together the bike over the course of 30 minutes or so. Just when I thought it was safe to get another drink and some cake, another suit got on the mic and informed us that they had a special treat for us. A bigger annual bonus? No, it was even better: they'd actually brought in a group of (to use our CEO's words) poor black kids to receive the bikes in front of everyone.

I don't think I can do just how cringey this moment was. The best I can do is to say that one of the things that, to me, makes charity "real" is that there's an element of dignity to it, where there's no forced-gratitude component. Let the kid enjoy the bike in privacy, or with their family, not with a bunch of weird, boozed-up strangers. Instead, like forty kids are led in and split up by handlers. Eventually, someone brings over this 7-year-old black kid to get his new ride.

I don't particularly like kids, so I was content to sit back and let the other, more sober people do the actual interaction. There was a photographer (hired at some cost, I'm sure) there, snapping pictures of the obviously-terrified kid surrounded by the horde of matronly MegaPharma desk warriors. One of them thrust the low-quality, hideously-decked-out, definitely unsafe (drunk assembly required?) rolling deathtrap of a bike at the kid and demanded that he try it out.

To my delight, a Christmas miracle occurred: the interaction went completely off the rails. The kid throws back his head and SCREAMS in terror. This terrified yowl rapidly gave way to inconsolable sobbing. One of the HR ladies in our group, probably a mom, moves in to comfort the kid. That ended real quick, because the kid then proceeded to piss his pants. Prodigiously. The photographer has stopped taking pictures at this point. One of the event planners walking by sees this and encourages the photographer to keep snapping pics of the crying, urinating child cowering at the edge of the encircling adults. Everyone stares at the PR woman as though she's gone mad, to which she cheerfully announces, "Well why not - IT'S A PARTY!!!"

Finally, the kid blurts out what freaked him out: he didn't know how to ride a bike and was scared. Another shining moment of corporate social responsibility.

Wanna know what the really funny part of this story is? MegaPharma made (makes?) a fairly popular medication for overactive bladder.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 04:02:57 AM »
I laughed. Out loud. I think I'm just a terrible human being.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 04:44:55 AM »
I am not into the forced fun but I do see employees enjoying themselves at theses events, esp those of us who have very mundane jobs IE not curing cancer. I just hang out and participate minimally nad try to talk to the new coworkers. I work for megacorp but have never had free drinks! enjoy.

Wrenchturner

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2020, 08:43:18 AM »
Snip
This was funny and also sad.  I thought my Christmas parties were bad.

ixtap

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2020, 09:01:09 AM »
DH likes these things. His team has big ones at Halloween and Christmas, in addition to the division summer and Christmas events. Preparing for the skit/ talent show is often a welcome distraction.

He likes them so much that he hasn't yet done much work this year outside of figuring out how to get the team involved in these kinds of things, mostly working on an electronic version of the bulletin board OP mentioned. We are also hosting something next weekend.

Giro

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2020, 09:19:54 AM »
Taken from my journal, in which I spend much time describing the soulless Megapharma I work(ed!) for:

MegaPharma used to throw a lavish Christmas party every year, in the massive ballroom of a hotel. 2,000+ people attended, so this was a very big, very expensive event that was immediately forgotten. The experience itself was forgettable - much self-congratulation, corporate rah-rah, etc. But hey, free food is free food.

The year in question, the higher-ups decided that we needed to GIVE BACK this season. MegaPharma was (and is) big into creating an image as selfless, community-oriented company that CARES. About everything. That means we talk about things like "patient experience" instead of simply figuring out if a medicine does what it's supposed to. We also have something called corporate social responsibility, i.e., token donations to community orgs. Practically, this means that MegaPharma makes donations that give a maximal return on PR while costing a minimum of money and effort. Sometimes these boondoggles make no sense; for example, we have an annual employee volunteer day where they encourage scientists like me, who are - not to be too melodramatic - literally curing cancer, to go out and rake mulch at a playground MegaPharma is refurbishing (and be sure to take photos for our PR folks!). Is that really a good use of my time? Speaking from firsthand experience, living in this world of fake charity is a serious source of lowered empathy and compassion fatigue.

Anyway, this Christmas party was, apparently, just another way to demonstrate that WE CARE. When we arrived, each employee was sorted into groups and told that we would be given a surprise holiday party task. The job: each group was to assemble (from parts) and decorate a children's bike, that would subsequently be donated to "poor black kids" (these words were said by our (admittedly foreign) CEO, before he was shushed by one of the event-planning flacks).

This is the kind of fake-charity shit I'm talking about. Low-effort/high-visibility and meaningless one-off stuff. All it required was a few shitty Wal Mart bikes and the willingness to drop a dollop of shitty forced work into a company social event.

Nevertheless, I had been at MegaPharma long enough to know that, when the music started playing, you were expected to dance. So I did what anyone else would in the situation: I got drunk real fast, ate the expensive-looking shrimp cocktail, and set to building the fucking bike.

The exercise was, if nothing else, highly illuminative about the real-world skills of corporate white-collar types. Almost everyone on the team was useless at this simple hands-on task. The only two guys who were any use were me (I've worked on bikes for a long time) and another guy, who I later found out was a senior VP of something-or-other. We slopped together the bike over the course of 30 minutes or so. Just when I thought it was safe to get another drink and some cake, another suit got on the mic and informed us that they had a special treat for us. A bigger annual bonus? No, it was even better: they'd actually brought in a group of (to use our CEO's words) poor black kids to receive the bikes in front of everyone.

I don't think I can do just how cringey this moment was. The best I can do is to say that one of the things that, to me, makes charity "real" is that there's an element of dignity to it, where there's no forced-gratitude component. Let the kid enjoy the bike in privacy, or with their family, not with a bunch of weird, boozed-up strangers. Instead, like forty kids are led in and split up by handlers. Eventually, someone brings over this 7-year-old black kid to get his new ride.

I don't particularly like kids, so I was content to sit back and let the other, more sober people do the actual interaction. There was a photographer (hired at some cost, I'm sure) there, snapping pictures of the obviously-terrified kid surrounded by the horde of matronly MegaPharma desk warriors. One of them thrust the low-quality, hideously-decked-out, definitely unsafe (drunk assembly required?) rolling deathtrap of a bike at the kid and demanded that he try it out.

To my delight, a Christmas miracle occurred: the interaction went completely off the rails. The kid throws back his head and SCREAMS in terror. This terrified yowl rapidly gave way to inconsolable sobbing. One of the HR ladies in our group, probably a mom, moves in to comfort the kid. That ended real quick, because the kid then proceeded to piss his pants. Prodigiously. The photographer has stopped taking pictures at this point. One of the event planners walking by sees this and encourages the photographer to keep snapping pics of the crying, urinating child cowering at the edge of the encircling adults. Everyone stares at the PR woman as though she's gone mad, to which she cheerfully announces, "Well why not - IT'S A PARTY!!!"

Finally, the kid blurts out what freaked him out: he didn't know how to ride a bike and was scared. Another shining moment of corporate social responsibility.

Wanna know what the really funny part of this story is? MegaPharma made (makes?) a fairly popular medication for overactive bladder.

fukk that's funny.

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2020, 09:27:54 AM »
I recall one middle manager who wasn't particularly talented..but took on the corporate cheerleader role with gusto. Even when company fortunes took a downturn; the forced happiness continued. Then the day came when upper management used him to lay-off dozens of workers. Then he got wacked as well. I often wondered if he is still such an incredible corporate event planner.

ixtap

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2020, 09:35:08 AM »
I recall one middle manager who wasn't particularly talented..but took on the corporate cheerleader role with gusto. Even when company fortunes took a downturn; the forced happiness continued. Then the day came when upper management used him to lay-off dozens of workers. Then he got wacked as well. I often wondered if he is still such an incredible corporate event planner.

This might explain DH's enthusiasm for such events: the folks that take the lead are ones he respects as engineers and project managers, as well.

Dances With Fire

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2020, 09:51:54 AM »
As I am still working at MegaCorp due to a serious case of OMY Syndrome, I am regularly confronted with activities that can be described as Corporate Cringe (phrase stolen from a YouTuber - who does a great series on this) and also events that are best described as Forced Fun.

On a regular basis I am subjected to the Corporate Cheerleaders who want to "high five", celebrate and create recognition for the most mundane of tasks.  Tasks that are best described as someone simply doing their job.  What makes it even worse is that if I am not super excited and willing to take part in these "voluntary activities", I am am the guy with a bad attitude.

Some examples are the recent Halloween where everyone was "encouraged" to dress up for the day.  I did a WFH as I could not take it.  Then there is the twice a month requirement (posted on your calendar) to send a co-worker a card of recognition.  Rather than recognizing a coworker for a job well done in an authentic and legitimate manner - it needs to be scheduled and strongly encouraged on an every other week basis.  I also opt out of this.  My last example is the department bulletin board where you are "encouraged" to post pictures of you and co-workers doing something fun.

All of this is supposed to help build a Team Spirit - but it really seems to just be one more task that people either feel forced to do - or - do not take part in and then fear the wrath of the organizers.

I find so many of these things to be a desperate need for attention by the people who set them up. 

So, what examples or stories do you folks have of Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun?  I suspect that there are some great ones to share.

Wow...I seriously wonder if you are sitting in the same office as I reply to this?? I have worked for a couple different mega corps. the past few years and have witnessed as this has become the new normal. More BS just for the sake of BS? More time wasters? I just don't get it either, never will.

I do think you hit on a key point however. "one more task that people (feel) forced to do."  Does NOT build team spirit.

 Best of Luck to you.

DadJokes

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2020, 10:21:30 AM »
In the military, we called it "mandatory fun."

On a weekend, when most of us would rather be home or in the barracks, we would be required to go to some company event. They would have events for families. All of the lower enlisted would just hang out with the same people we worked with, waiting until we were allowed to leave. Some people would be required to show up early for setup, and some people would be required to stay late for tear-down. It was all so some officer could say they did something to help morale when up for an award/promotion.

Aegishjalmur

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2020, 11:08:33 AM »
I remember at work being paid to make paper airplanes. I don't even remember what the purpose was supposed to be anymore.

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2020, 11:59:55 AM »
From the misguided charitable cringe-worthy effort department:  The worst thing I ever saw was a regional division touting their recent community donation in the all-company newsletter.  They told the tale of a car wreck where a 19 year old woman had to be extracted from the car but unfortunately died anyway, (let's say her name was Kathy). 

The company decided to give a jaws-of-life tool to the local fire department that responded to the wreck, and upon presentation the company told the fire department that they had christened the tool for them and its name was Kathy.

I am shitting you not even one little bit.     

47%MMM

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2020, 07:15:33 PM »
Taken from my journal, in which I spend much time describing the soulless Megapharma I work(ed!) for:

MegaPharma used to throw a lavish Christmas party every year, in the massive ballroom of a hotel. 2,000+ people attended, so this was a very big, very expensive event that was immediately forgotten. The experience itself was forgettable - much self-congratulation, corporate rah-rah, etc. But hey, free food is free food.

The year in question, the higher-ups decided that we needed to GIVE BACK this season. MegaPharma was (and is) big into creating an image as selfless, community-oriented company that CARES. About everything. That means we talk about things like "patient experience" instead of simply figuring out if a medicine does what it's supposed to. We also have something called corporate social responsibility, i.e., token donations to community orgs. Practically, this means that MegaPharma makes donations that give a maximal return on PR while costing a minimum of money and effort. Sometimes these boondoggles make no sense; for example, we have an annual employee volunteer day where they encourage scientists like me, who are - not to be too melodramatic - literally curing cancer, to go out and rake mulch at a playground MegaPharma is refurbishing (and be sure to take photos for our PR folks!). Is that really a good use of my time? Speaking from firsthand experience, living in this world of fake charity is a serious source of lowered empathy and compassion fatigue.

Anyway, this Christmas party was, apparently, just another way to demonstrate that WE CARE. When we arrived, each employee was sorted into groups and told that we would be given a surprise holiday party task. The job: each group was to assemble (from parts) and decorate a children's bike, that would subsequently be donated to "poor black kids" (these words were said by our (admittedly foreign) CEO, before he was shushed by one of the event-planning flacks).

This is the kind of fake-charity shit I'm talking about. Low-effort/high-visibility and meaningless one-off stuff. All it required was a few shitty Wal Mart bikes and the willingness to drop a dollop of shitty forced work into a company social event.

Nevertheless, I had been at MegaPharma long enough to know that, when the music started playing, you were expected to dance. So I did what anyone else would in the situation: I got drunk real fast, ate the expensive-looking shrimp cocktail, and set to building the fucking bike.

The exercise was, if nothing else, highly illuminative about the real-world skills of corporate white-collar types. Almost everyone on the team was useless at this simple hands-on task. The only two guys who were any use were me (I've worked on bikes for a long time) and another guy, who I later found out was a senior VP of something-or-other. We slopped together the bike over the course of 30 minutes or so. Just when I thought it was safe to get another drink and some cake, another suit got on the mic and informed us that they had a special treat for us. A bigger annual bonus? No, it was even better: they'd actually brought in a group of (to use our CEO's words) poor black kids to receive the bikes in front of everyone.

I don't think I can do just how cringey this moment was. The best I can do is to say that one of the things that, to me, makes charity "real" is that there's an element of dignity to it, where there's no forced-gratitude component. Let the kid enjoy the bike in privacy, or with their family, not with a bunch of weird, boozed-up strangers. Instead, like forty kids are led in and split up by handlers. Eventually, someone brings over this 7-year-old black kid to get his new ride.

I don't particularly like kids, so I was content to sit back and let the other, more sober people do the actual interaction. There was a photographer (hired at some cost, I'm sure) there, snapping pictures of the obviously-terrified kid surrounded by the horde of matronly MegaPharma desk warriors. One of them thrust the low-quality, hideously-decked-out, definitely unsafe (drunk assembly required?) rolling deathtrap of a bike at the kid and demanded that he try it out.

To my delight, a Christmas miracle occurred: the interaction went completely off the rails. The kid throws back his head and SCREAMS in terror. This terrified yowl rapidly gave way to inconsolable sobbing. One of the HR ladies in our group, probably a mom, moves in to comfort the kid. That ended real quick, because the kid then proceeded to piss his pants. Prodigiously. The photographer has stopped taking pictures at this point. One of the event planners walking by sees this and encourages the photographer to keep snapping pics of the crying, urinating child cowering at the edge of the encircling adults. Everyone stares at the PR woman as though she's gone mad, to which she cheerfully announces, "Well why not - IT'S A PARTY!!!"

Finally, the kid blurts out what freaked him out: he didn't know how to ride a bike and was scared. Another shining moment of corporate social responsibility.

Wanna know what the really funny part of this story is? MegaPharma made (makes?) a fairly popular medication for overactive bladder.

Oh man, this is the best thing I’ve read in weeks. I know this is a true story but your writing is awesome, you need to write skits for SNL.

iris lily

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2020, 08:25:01 PM »
Several years ago my work place shared an astonishing, sobering fact that came out of —I dunno, some sort of corporate cultural research.

Anyway, the fact was this: a HIGH percentage of employees want their overlords to organize charitable do-gooding events. I do not remember the exact percentage but it was enough to make me go WTF. Since that's absolutely against my very nature I was deeply skeptical, but I did verify it later.

Apparently sheeple are not able to choose, on their own, worthy efforts and/or organizations that need their volunteer hours. Sheeple need to be told when and where to assemble, what to wear, and how long the do -gooder effort will take.

Alrighty then.


alienbogey

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2020, 09:20:18 AM »
When first out of college I worked for Mega International Accounting Firm.  The managing partner of our Large City office was very proud of the fact that 100% of the partners and employees donated $$ every year to the (admittedly worthy) charity that he had decided was to receive our largesse.

A form circulated in which we were to designate how much we would contribute.  Zero was not an option listed.  I crossed out all options, signed and returned it.  Rather than bore you any further, I got run up the chain until I was in Managing Partner's office explaining to The Man himself why I would be choosing for myself to which, if any, charities, and how much, if any, I would be giving.

A couple of weeks later the office released its annual self congratulatory charity PR piece which announced that, as usual, 100% of the kind, caring employees of kind, caring Mega International Accounting Firm had chosen to donate to the charity.

I left a few months later.  It wasn't a good fit.

ETA:  Current corporate employer has an annual picnic, but it's voluntary.  So far as I can tell only the organizers, cheerleaders, and Kool-Aid drinkers attend.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 09:22:12 AM by alienbogey »

Villanelle

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2020, 11:35:48 AM »
Most of those things don't actually sound unpleasant to me.

In the military, there is what we all lovingly call "mandatory fun".  Sometimes, it's great but others it is time between deployments that could be spend enjoying family life and instead finds us in a bar or ballroom with coworkers and their spouses.

The worst is when it costs $60+ (per person) to attend this mandatory fun.  They get away with it because it's not 100% mandatory.  except that it totally is.  In some cases, not going means standing in front of the boss and having to explain why you aren't attending this year's holiday party (at $60 a head!).  And if you do so without a great reason, you can be very sure it will be remembered come job assignment and evaluation time.  Why should they give you the best jobs if you don't even care enough about your soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines/coasties enough to show up to the holiday party and congratulate them on their awards and break bread with them (when they, almost certainly, didn't care and would rather be at home or out with friends, too).

That said, some of the best nights of my life have also been mandatory fun.  It's hit or miss. 

(

nkt0

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2020, 11:54:34 AM »
What i don't like is "retreat" events where you're stuck with your co-workers overnight at a location not of your choosing. I had one of these with my prior company. While it was actually fun and quite generous of the owner to pay for everyone's trip, i spend enough time with these people 9-5 that i don't need to be trapped with them for four days and three nights.

More recently my (now ex) employer is hosting a two-day "hackathon", which is supposed to be a team-building exercise. But the goals are to create something actually usable by the business, so it's a thinly veiled attempt to make people work and play at the same time.

We used to have a ping pong table and a N64. That was nice because people could choose when they wanted to unwind and with whom. It wasn't mandatory.

iris lily

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2020, 12:06:16 PM »
At my last place of employment we had an employee recognition event, a looooong evening dinner that just happened to cooincide with Holiday Season. NO it wasnt A Christmas party so dont think that! We were woke! We did only  parties that were not parties but were work events. At Christmas time.

So during some of those years DH and I had a very active social life and on that Saturday two weeks before Christmas we had at least 3 invitations for parties we wanted to attend. A minimum of 3. But nope, I had to attend the  “employee recognition” dinner that was held at a time when about a zillion other events were taking place. And on a Saturday night. When we had to buy our own damn alcohol.

Oh god it was tedious. But me, I don’t mind offering helpful commentary to administration so I would ask periodically.  “Why must we have this event (it’s not a party!)  at holiday time? Why can’t we move it to a less busy time on the calendar? “. And the answer was always “because everyone likes the Christm...er..., the winter aspect of the event-not-party.”

This went  for some years while attendance dropped. But not my attendance!  because
I had to be there, managers had to show up.

Eventually my workplace moved the party to April.

While  I appreciated the April party at a upscale place literally one block from my house, I still wondered about the utility of it. At one of the last events I sat back and counted heads of people in the room who were retired employees. Oh yes retired employees were always invited to this thing. By my count more than half the room was filled with retired former employees.

Ever helpful, I then queried administration “why do we hold this event when it’s an employee recognition event when a significant number of attendees don’t even work here anymore? “Hmmmm “ was their answer.

A year after I retired they cut the event completely. Then they started up something new it is far more casual and no retired employees are invited. Gosh I bet you could guess how broken my heart was about that ha ha Ha.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 12:11:33 PM by iris lily »

cowpuncher10

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2020, 12:45:20 PM »
I don't like the "forced fun" aspect of some parties, had that at one company before.

I am all on board though for a nice fine dining experience and an open bar after a hard year work with a does of recognition tossed in. Even though most of it is canned I still get a nice steak and wine/whiskey at a top tier steakhouse for free...

Car Jack

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2020, 01:01:08 PM »
At my last job, where to become part of the family business inner circle, I'd have had to marry one of the family daughters, which my wife would not approve (she's jealous of blondes).  Anyways, each department had a required quarterly morale event, which pretty much everyone would have liked to skip.  These were usually (of course) after work on our own time and not paid and required.  The mini golf and free lunch was fine (plus I won the mini golf), but the best one was arranged by the company gun enthusiast.  We went to a local private indoor gun range and shot small caliber hand guns on a target range.  Our department leader was curiously absent from the event.  Was she scared someone would accidentally unload a clip into her?  Maybe. 

PhrugalPhan

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2020, 02:33:06 PM »
I laughed. Out loud. I think I'm just a terrible human being.
You're not. I would have too but I'm in the cubicle farm now and controlled myself.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2020, 06:36:50 PM »
...for example, we have an annual employee volunteer day where they encourage scientists like me, who are - not to be too melodramatic - literally curing cancer, to go out...

First, I have to join the others here and admit that I laughed out loud.

Second, my last MegaCorp Manager used to say, "Don't worry about it. We're not curing cancer here." Which was really unfortunate, because if we were, I could have actually felt like I was making a difference in some way. But on the list of "jobs that make no difference in the world," I probably occupied the #1, maybe #2 spot.

ice_beard

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2020, 11:31:22 PM »
I shit you not, in my annual review last year I received positive marks except "I didn't send enough e-cards".  I almost spat out my coffee. 
Good performance, but send more e-cards.  Got it. 

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2020, 12:30:16 AM »
The frustrating thing is that introverts can sort of understand extroverts, because they're almost by definition very visible.  But introverts by their very nature are less visible.  I can't count how many times someone said something like, "just try it, you'll have fun!" to this sorry of stupidity.  No, I've been "forced" to try to have extrovert "fun" since middle school, and it has always been awful.  I am very happy for you that you enjoy it, but why can't you accept that - shockingly - people don't all enjoy exactly the same activities?  Honestly, for me the difficulty of trying to be an introvert in corporate culture, and this kind of thing is exactly what I'm thinking of when I say that, is why I wanted to get out as early as I could.  I cannot express how much I loathe this kind of thing and how much I tried to avoid it when I was working.  Again, I'm all for people who like this sort of thing to have a great time enjoying it, but making people who despise it join in doesn't help anything. 
Jeez, I hadn't realized how open a wound that was until this thread.  I'm 9 months FIREd and all the old anxiety of extrovert culture just came rushing back.  Time to go read a book by myself to recharge...

WynnDuffy73

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2020, 05:26:08 AM »
The frustrating thing is that introverts can sort of understand extroverts, because they're almost by definition very visible.  But introverts by their very nature are less visible.  I can't count how many times someone said something like, "just try it, you'll have fun!" to this sorry of stupidity.  No, I've been "forced" to try to have extrovert "fun" since middle school, and it has always been awful.  I am very happy for you that you enjoy it, but why can't you accept that - shockingly - people don't all enjoy exactly the same activities?  Honestly, for me the difficulty of trying to be an introvert in corporate culture, and this kind of thing is exactly what I'm thinking of when I say that, is why I wanted to get out as early as I could.  I cannot express how much I loathe this kind of thing and how much I tried to avoid it when I was working.  Again, I'm all for people who like this sort of thing to have a great time enjoying it, but making people who despise it join in doesn't help anything. 
Jeez, I hadn't realized how open a wound that was until this thread.  I'm 9 months FIREd and all the old anxiety of extrovert culture just came rushing back.  Time to go read a book by myself to recharge...

Oh I can totally relate to this.

Our megacorp opened up a “voluntary” Toastmasters group that we were encouraged to participate in.  I would rather pull my fingernails out than spend my lunch break giving a “voluntary” speech to coworkers.  My job does not require public speaking and I have no desire to do it.  The worst part is when your speech is over they critique you right in the spot which makes the whole experience 10 times worse.

I took a hard pass on that one.

Nederstash

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2020, 07:18:31 AM »
snip

Omg... I... just... I have no words.

GreenSheep

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2020, 09:17:02 AM »
The frustrating thing is that introverts can sort of understand extroverts, because they're almost by definition very visible.  But introverts by their very nature are less visible.  I can't count how many times someone said something like, "just try it, you'll have fun!" to this sorry of stupidity.  No, I've been "forced" to try to have extrovert "fun" since middle school, and it has always been awful.  I am very happy for you that you enjoy it, but why can't you accept that - shockingly - people don't all enjoy exactly the same activities?

Yes! It doesn't mean that we hate people or that we're shy or that we don't know how to have fun. We may very well enjoy the same type of activity on a much smaller scale, with 1-2 people we know extremely well. We just don't enjoy spending our time the same way as an extrovert.

Psychstache

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2020, 10:55:18 AM »
The frustrating thing is that introverts can sort of understand extroverts, because they're almost by definition very visible.  But introverts by their very nature are less visible.  I can't count how many times someone said something like, "just try it, you'll have fun!" to this sorry of stupidity.  No, I've been "forced" to try to have extrovert "fun" since middle school, and it has always been awful.  I am very happy for you that you enjoy it, but why can't you accept that - shockingly - people don't all enjoy exactly the same activities?

Yes! It doesn't mean that we hate people or that we're shy or that we don't know how to have fun. We may very well enjoy the same type of activity on a much smaller scale, with 1-2 people we know extremely well. We just don't enjoy spending our time the same way as an extrovert.

Felt Appropriate
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 10:58:16 AM by Psychstache »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2020, 11:07:39 AM »
The frustrating thing is that introverts can sort of understand extroverts, because they're almost by definition very visible.  But introverts by their very nature are less visible.  I can't count how many times someone said something like, "just try it, you'll have fun!" to this sorry of stupidity.  No, I've been "forced" to try to have extrovert "fun" since middle school, and it has always been awful.  I am very happy for you that you enjoy it, but why can't you accept that - shockingly - people don't all enjoy exactly the same activities?

Yes! It doesn't mean that we hate people or that we're shy or that we don't know how to have fun. We may very well enjoy the same type of activity on a much smaller scale, with 1-2 people we know extremely well. We just don't enjoy spending our time the same way as an extrovert.
Have you tried being extroverted? Just try it, you might like it.

Julard

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2020, 02:15:41 PM »
I've found over the years that my tolerance for these things depends very much on how genuine the everyday relationships are.

So when the people are nice, caring, authentic, and working for the right reasons, I will park my extreme introvert tendencies and happily be part of what's going on.  I've even been known to organise.

In recent years I've been working under an awful manager, in a toxic trust-no-one environment.  So that's a hard "no" to compulsory Christmas decoration competitions, Christmas parties, 'voluntary' team drinks/walks/visits, corporate endorsed charity events etc etc.  Because fuck you, I'm not spending time with you that I don't have to, and I'm not pretending that anything you say to me, or about your 'values' is sincere.  I really need to leave.

Werthless

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2020, 02:40:20 PM »
The frustrating thing is that introverts can sort of understand extroverts, because they're almost by definition very visible.  But introverts by their very nature are less visible.  I can't count how many times someone said something like, "just try it, you'll have fun!" to this sorry of stupidity.  No, I've been "forced" to try to have extrovert "fun" since middle school, and it has always been awful.  I am very happy for you that you enjoy it, but why can't you accept that - shockingly - people don't all enjoy exactly the same activities?

Yes! It doesn't mean that we hate people or that we're shy or that we don't know how to have fun. We may very well enjoy the same type of activity on a much smaller scale, with 1-2 people we know extremely well. We just don't enjoy spending our time the same way as an extrovert.
Have you tried being extroverted? Just try it, you might like it.
Hahaha

Monkey stache

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2020, 10:43:02 AM »
I work from home and very far from any office. There was a period of time when they tried to include me in office parties. They'd make me video call in and they'd project my face on the wall ("your face is like 5 feet tall!" Great.).

I'd be sitting there awkwardly watching everyone eat cake, drink wine and socialize. Sometimes someone would try to say hello to the projection on the wall but the computer with the webcam was setup on the other side of the room so I couldn't see them (did I mention I work for a tech company?).

Thank god they don't make me do this shit anymore.

labrador

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2020, 11:22:12 AM »
Tomorrow I get to participate in one of these asinine morale-building exercises. Twice a year the employees of our rather large organization meet for a campus-wide meeting to kick of the new semester. It actually is a soul-sucking exercise that makes me wonder every year if I made a mistake choosing my profession almost three decades ago. As part of the fun, employees who have been with the organization for a certain number of years are given "longevity awards" - plaques, engraved pens, whatever. I have always viewed these awards as "congratulations, you haven't been fired or died" type things. Over the years, I have perfected my "attendance" at this event. I arrive late, show my face, and no one knows that I haven't been there the whole 3.5 hours. This year, I am due for another longevity award, meaning I had to arrive on time. But then, the gods smiled upon me and the organizers decided that these awards took too long and made the program drag on (and on and on...), so they were moving the awards ceremony to an afternoon in the spring. Oh, happy day!! It happened to be an afternoon that I couldn't make it - even better! Then, it happened. One of my esteemed colleagues sent out an email that he was quite upset that he wouldn't be receiving his recognition in front of everyone, that he felt it was important that the entire organization recognize his accomplishment, blah, blah. Then other idiots chimed in supporting this doofus. So now, it is back on. I actually have to arrive on time and get congratulated because I neither got fired nor did I die during the last three decades.

Davnasty

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2020, 11:53:09 AM »
I work from home and very far from any office. There was a period of time when they tried to include me in office parties. They'd make me video call in and they'd project my face on the wall ("your face is like 5 feet tall!" Great.).

I'd be sitting there awkwardly watching everyone eat cake, drink wine and socialize. Sometimes someone would try to say hello to the projection on the wall but the computer with the webcam was setup on the other side of the room so I couldn't see them (did I mention I work for a tech company?).

Thank god they don't make me do this shit anymore.

That is bizarre. What did you do while you sat there? Besides watch awkwardly, of course.

And could you see your own face with that camera setup?

I'm having trouble picturing what this scene would look like. I'm also having trouble believing that anyone thought this was a good idea.

nippycrisp

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2020, 12:20:40 PM »
Wow, this thread got popular. People seem to find these, I dunno, therapeutic. I'll do another one, again purloined from my journal, where I got more than I bargained for:

Years ago, my employer (AKA Megapharma) announced a story contest. The rules were simple: make a 90-second video where you tell a personal experience you’ve had with MegaPharma that impacted/shaped/changed your life. Basically, give the company the testimonial equivalent of a Dutch Rudder (look it up, although NSFW).

Ten or so “winners” would get 250 MegaBucks (a MegaPharma incentive pseudocurrency, valued roughly a dollar apiece for use in a corporate prize catalog containing only one useful thing: pre-loaded debit cards). More importantly, you would receive the opportunity to have your story professionally recorded and sent wide for the greater glorification of the company.

Naturally, no one bothered to try. Seriously, no one; I later learned the judges only received six entries for ten spots.

Rather than taking the hint and scrapping the whole thing, the corporate overlords upped the ante significantly and tried again: same rules as before, but now six thousand MegaBucks to each winner.

Suddenly, everyone cared about sharing their passion for MegaPharma. Submissions flooded in. And I was among those willing to put their dignity aside in exchange for that sweet, sweet paper.

Problem was, I didn’t have many nice things to say about MegaPharma. To quote one of my personal journals from this period: “I’m attached to this company about as tightly as a whore is to the obese businessman banging her.”

So… how to go about making a submission under these dire conditions? I postponed doing it, then forgot, remembered, made a note and forgot again. Finally, I realized that the deadline was due that day, and was only about 30 minutes away. I was still no closer to having a usable, articulate story idea.

But for $6,000, I was sure as shit going to try. I went into the lab, far away from the prying eyes of my co-workers. Then I closed my eyes and thought for about five minutes until an idea popped into my head. Slowly, I mentally put a pitch together. At this point, I only had about five minutes to record the video and upload it, so there was only time for one take.

Here was the guts of my 90-second submission, paraphrased, as to how MegaPharma ignited my passion for healthcare:

“During college, I never really considered becoming a scientist. However, during my final year, shortly before graduation, I received a disturbing call: my uncle, a seasoned military veteran, had been traveling through remote Washington State on leave, when he was targeted by/ran afoul of local law enforcement. After a violent manhunt, my uncle was apprehended, but only after his (former) superior officer broke a dangerous standoff. Only then was my dear uncle was able to get the treatment he needed. Hearing how terribly he’d suffered from the ravages of his mental condition galvanized me then and there to become a scientist.

I continued: “Five or ten years later, I’m finishing my scientific training and looking for a job. During a family reunion, I mentioned that I’m considering working for a company named MegaPharma. The same uncle, now retired from the military, jumps at the name. ‘I know that company!’ he said excitedly. ‘They make the meds I take.’ It was fate then, that I should have the opportunity - nay, privilege - to work for a company that has done SO MUCH for my family.”

And, that, I concluded, is why I am SO PROUD to work for MegaPharma, where I can continue to Make MegaPharma Great Again (I might have actually said that last bit). I put a little quiver in my voice, blinked hard, as though I was holding back tears, and stopped recording. I threw up a little in my mouth, then I uploaded the video and forgot about it.

Sharp readers may note that the plight of my uncle and the protagonist of the critically acclaimed 1982 hit Rambo: First Blood are nearly identical. This is entirely coincidental, I assure you.

A couple weeks later I get an email from MegaPharma’s PR flacks. Although they received more than 300 submissions, they just LOVE the passion in my story and are seriously considering selecting it as one of the grand prize winners.

There was, they wrote, just one little question: what was the MegaPharma medicine that my uncle received for his unspecified disease?

It was a reasonable question, seeing as MegaPharma hadn’t really been making psychiatric or neurological drugs back then. But there must be some reasonable explanation for my 100% true, real-life story ripped from the tears of my heart. So I did a little digging. As luck would have it, MegaPharma used to distribute another company’s psychiatric drug in Asia and the Middle East. I wrote back, explaining that, after his convalescence, my uncle re-joined the military and was deployed to the jungles of southeast Asia as part of an elite special forces unit. During this harrowing time overseas, MegaPharma was his only link to his precious meds during his adventures in service of our country. As I put it win my response, the drugs helped keep my uncle “in fighting shape.”

On a completely unrelated note, the plot of Rambo: First Blood Part Two involves a traumatized veteran returning to the jungles of SE Asia to rescue American POWs. Hell of a film, people.

This explanation appeared to fly with leadership, as I was swiftly notified that I was in. Now all I had to do was tell this harrowing story of sacrifice and triumph. On camera and to a live audience.

I badly underestimated how seriously MegaPharma was taking this circle-jerk. My first inkling of this was when they informed us (during a “kick-off” teleconference) that they’d hired speaking coaches for the presenters.

Also, during this teleconference, I made a fairly major fuck-up: The head speaking coach was giving us guidelines for our talks. I had my speaker on mute and things were going totally average. When we moved to the question period at the end, I made the mistake of un-muting my phone in anticipation of hanging up. Someone asked a question about planning the length of the talk. “Shorter is better,” one of the coaches advised. “Besides, it can get longer in the moment. And if you can fit in eight [minutes], you can definitely fit in ten.”

As a big fan of The Office, it was too much. “That’s what she said!” I blurted out. Technically, it was three TWSS’s in a row, but I didn’t care to elaborate, as it would have meant admitting to making the comment. Instead, I re-muted and prayed the technology to identify me did not exist (or would not be employed).

On the party line, I heard at least two partially-muffled snorts of laughter and dead silence from a dozen prudes/muted lines. An uncomfortable silence ensued, before the conversation was revived and wrapped up.

Anyway, I managed to slip the blame and we moved into the one-on-one coaching phase. Now, I am pretty comfortable giving talks to large groups of people. I've done large talks for science, recorded pieces for various media outlets, and done interviews throughout my life. I know how to talk to people.

Or at least I thought I did. The coaching was mainly aimed at making sure that we were - ahem - very complimentary to MegaPharma. My coach kept trying to shoehorn our our enumerated corporate virtues into the talk, and have my finishing move be spotlighting one of them. For example, my story could be chalked up to “Patient Focus”, when in actuality the main part of the patient MegaPharma cares about seems to be the leathery, cash-storing appendage carried adjacent to the buttocks.

For reasons that should be obvious, I fashioned a talk that bore absolutely no resemblance to my original submission. Far be it from my character to hog the spotlight - the talk I fashioned was, to be blunt, soporific. Huge words, deliberate droning, no real point. My coach hated me. I didn’t give a shit; I just wanted the money and to be forgotten.

I showed up for the taping. Day One was rehearsals. It was shocking how much money they’d wasted on this thing. They had literally built a television studio in one of their cavernous meeting rooms. MegaPharma had also hired a professional stage crew, camera- and sound guys, a few teamsters, a director (and a fucking ASSISTANT DIRECTOR) for what were basically a series of commercials. Add to this a still photographer, caterers (and a security guy who guarded the catering table, mainly from the teamsters) and a make-up team, not to mention travel costs and paying the speakers and their coaches, and MegaPharma was blowing at least a quarter mil on this boondoggle. I’ve said it before, but this is part of the reason your drugs are so expensive. Not the sole reason, but part of it.

The night before the talks, there was a dinner with senior management. There were speeches, during which on exec referred to us as “culture warriors.” I threw up in my mouth again, then self-medicated with an expensive white wine.

Performance day arrived. Like any television show, there was a lot of down time. As I chatted with the other speakers - all MegaPharma employees - I learned something surprising: all of them were completely ignorant of how we made drugs. Everyone was part of our bloated management structure, salespeople, rule-checkers, human resource drones, or the vast network of pseudo-business titles, most of whom were completely fungible and made more money than me. The research part was the tip of the iceberg, a shiny bit visible above the surface, dragged down by a surfeit of bureaucracy.

I don’t want to drag innocents into this story, but the other people presenting spanned that narrow chasm between bland and terrible. There was a veteran salesman (who was still at the absolute bottom of the food chain after working at MegaPharma for 30-40 years - that’s the story I wanted to hear from this dude) who told irrelevant stories of the good ol’ days (like a poor man’s Mad Men). Another woman’s story was essentially how she wasn’t fired by MegaPharma after being a terrible saleswoman and how much she appreciated not being fired now that she’s advanced to being just average. Another expressed gratitude that MegaPharma makes cancer drugs, as she might one day develop cancer. Profound stuff, people.

But I can’t throw stones. My own talk sucked. Midway through, I had one of those existential moments where I could see myself and what I was doing, what I’d been reduced to, and I did not what I saw or how I felt. Because this situation was all kinds of fucked up.

But reality moves slower than dreams, and four or five months later I’m still working there and they’re rolling out the talks. I never watched mine (any of them), to be honest. It felt vaguely degrading in the moment, hailing MegaPharma, and I didn’t want to risk triggering another spell of work-related depression.

Despite my carefully-crafted blandness, my talk was wildly successful, to say the least. I don’t want to give too many details, but it was picked up as part of a major advertising campaign. If you watch a lot of sports, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen snippets of me in a company commercial. Not that I saw an extra dime from it. Then again, I got my gift cards, so I guess I don’t have much room to complain.

Looking back, I view it as a transaction - we both got what we wanted. And if MegaPharma ever wants to play soap-up-storytime again, I’m sure they’d love hearing about my uncle Murphy, a wounded Detroit police officer who was able to return to duty after being practically raised from the dead by some futuristic medical devices that MegaPharma just happens to manufacture.

I have no doubt that MegaPharma might buy that for a dollar.

afah0447

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2020, 03:29:01 PM »
This sort of non-sense is everywhere. It's became there are so many people with Communication and PR degrees that they need to justify their jobs. The role of HR departments have expanded so much they are starting to cost more to run than the value they add.

dollarchaser

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2020, 06:42:39 PM »
Tomorrow I get to participate in one of these asinine morale-building exercises. Twice a year the employees of our rather large organization meet for a campus-wide meeting to kick of the new semester. It actually is a soul-sucking exercise that makes me wonder every year if I made a mistake choosing my profession almost three decades ago. As part of the fun, employees who have been with the organization for a certain number of years are given "longevity awards" - plaques, engraved pens, whatever. I have always viewed these awards as "congratulations, you haven't been fired or died" type things. Over the years, I have perfected my "attendance" at this event. I arrive late, show my face, and no one knows that I haven't been there the whole 3.5 hours. This year, I am due for another longevity award, meaning I had to arrive on time. But then, the gods smiled upon me and the organizers decided that these awards took too long and made the program drag on (and on and on...), so they were moving the awards ceremony to an afternoon in the spring. Oh, happy day!! It happened to be an afternoon that I couldn't make it - even better! Then, it happened. One of my esteemed colleagues sent out an email that he was quite upset that he wouldn't be receiving his recognition in front of everyone, that he felt it was important that the entire organization recognize his accomplishment, blah, blah. Then other idiots chimed in supporting this doofus. So now, it is back on. I actually have to arrive on time and get congratulated because I neither got fired nor did I die during the last three decades.

Those dumb awards are fairly significant acknowledgment of an unspoken milestone.

Even with full and complete knowledge of this companies skeletons and fuck ups, I have not walked out or turned medieval on their ass. For a significant amount of time.
But when my money is right, it will be one or the other.
:)

exterous

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2020, 06:50:11 PM »
I'll say that my move into management has given me a lot of additional insight into why some of the things happen the way they do. There is a very good chance your fellow coworkers advocate for such parties and get upset when they don't happen. Some are certainly better planned and run than others and it's not easy to strike a balance for something that is fun for both introverts and extroverts

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2020, 09:13:06 PM »
I'll say that my move into management has given me a lot of additional insight into why some of the things happen the way they do. There is a very good chance your fellow coworkers advocate for such parties and get upset when they don't happen. Some are certainly better planned and run than others and it's not easy to strike a balance for something that is fun for both introverts and extroverts

Not being expected to attend would make it fun for introverts. Try that one out. It's the cheaper option anyway.

MayDay

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2020, 06:01:16 AM »
Oooh I just remembered a fun one.

My company paints things. The engineers who work in paint (me) have niche understandings of the theory of paint. We don't actually get to paint anything, lol.

We did a painting project as a public service project sponsored by our paint supplier. It took hours and hours of coordination to get all the appropriate bigwigs there on the correct days to have the correct photo shoots with local dignitaries, etc.

We painted 4 classrooms.

They hired professional painters to do all the trim work and check out work.

Lolol for days. But whatever I got a day off work.


MissNancyPryor

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2020, 06:47:42 AM »
I work from home and very far from any office. There was a period of time when they tried to include me in office parties. They'd make me video call in and they'd project my face on the wall ("your face is like 5 feet tall!" Great.).

I'd be sitting there awkwardly watching everyone eat cake, drink wine and socialize. Sometimes someone would try to say hello to the projection on the wall but the computer with the webcam was setup on the other side of the room so I couldn't see them (did I mention I work for a tech company?).

Thank god they don't make me do this shit anymore.

That is bizarre. What did you do while you sat there? Besides watch awkwardly, of course.

And could you see your own face with that camera setup?

I'm having trouble picturing what this scene would look like. I'm also having trouble believing that anyone thought this was a good idea.

It would have been so cool if you had set up a gif of your oh-so-interested expressions that ran over and over again through the feed, recycling long enough that people couldn't tell it wasn't live. 

Freedom2016

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2020, 08:07:45 AM »
Tomorrow I get to participate in one of these asinine morale-building exercises. Twice a year the employees of our rather large organization meet for a campus-wide meeting to kick of the new semester. It actually is a soul-sucking exercise that makes me wonder every year if I made a mistake choosing my profession almost three decades ago. As part of the fun, employees who have been with the organization for a certain number of years are given "longevity awards" - plaques, engraved pens, whatever. I have always viewed these awards as "congratulations, you haven't been fired or died" type things. Over the years, I have perfected my "attendance" at this event. I arrive late, show my face, and no one knows that I haven't been there the whole 3.5 hours. This year, I am due for another longevity award, meaning I had to arrive on time. But then, the gods smiled upon me and the organizers decided that these awards took too long and made the program drag on (and on and on...), so they were moving the awards ceremony to an afternoon in the spring. Oh, happy day!! It happened to be an afternoon that I couldn't make it - even better! Then, it happened. One of my esteemed colleagues sent out an email that he was quite upset that he wouldn't be receiving his recognition in front of everyone, that he felt it was important that the entire organization recognize his accomplishment, blah, blah. Then other idiots chimed in supporting this doofus. So now, it is back on. I actually have to arrive on time and get congratulated because I neither got fired nor did I die during the last three decades.

People have different appreciation languages, and just as your esteemed colleague shouldn't shit on you for not wanting public acknowledgement, I'd say it's also bad form for you to shit on him for liking public acknowledgement.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 08:11:08 AM by Freedom2016 »

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2020, 08:08:55 AM »
I work from home and very far from any office. There was a period of time when they tried to include me in office parties. They'd make me video call in and they'd project my face on the wall ("your face is like 5 feet tall!" Great.).

I'd be sitting there awkwardly watching everyone eat cake, drink wine and socialize. Sometimes someone would try to say hello to the projection on the wall but the computer with the webcam was setup on the other side of the room so I couldn't see them (did I mention I work for a tech company?).

Thank god they don't make me do this shit anymore.

That is bizarre. What did you do while you sat there? Besides watch awkwardly, of course.

And could you see your own face with that camera setup?

I'm having trouble picturing what this scene would look like. I'm also having trouble believing that anyone thought this was a good idea.

I could see my face in the corner of my computer like a normal video call but I couldn't see where they were projecting my face. I just kind of sat there awkwardly until someone would chat with me. I generally would only "attend" these parties for about 10-15 minutes because I couldn't stand it. I would just say I had too much work to do and leave.

"I'm also having trouble believing that anyone thought this was a good idea."
Yeah I felt this way about many decisions they made which is I why I switched teams.

J.R. Ewing

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Re: Corporate Cringe and Forced Fun
« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2020, 08:14:12 AM »
I used to work at BigOil.  We had a wee spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  You might have heard about it. 

Anyway, the company had just finished installing flat screen TVs all over the building when when the spill happened.  Of course the TVs where tuned to CNN.  No matter where you were in the office, you were never than a couple paces away from a TV showing oil spewing out.  As you could imagine it was murderous for moral.

Their solution to low moral was mandatory fun team building events.  How many should we have?  More, always more.  They loved team building events like Christopher Walken loved cowbell.  We ended up taking a day or a half day for a team building event every two weeks.  If there was some sort of activity to be done within an hour of west Houston, we did it.