X Cheers to Vitamin F!

3 Dec

Multiple unrelated (yet closely linked) events happened during this busy week and each could potentially result in a blog post. But I chose not to overwhelm you with 7 blogs about those 7 days (not because it might sound too much like that good ol’ dramedy Andha Yezhu Naatkal அந்த ஏழு நாட்கள்) and write about just one instead!

Cheering4Every year the various organization teams (projects and support functions) get an opportunity to go for an outing at the company expense. Though we weren’t sure about that this year (it’s obviously the economy, silly), as soon as we knew we can, we didn’t waste any time in finding a place and cobbling together a plan within a couple of weeks.

Taking hundreds of team members to a place for a day and making sure they have fun is one helluva task that no manager fancies. But just as most managers don’t have a choice when it comes to handpicking a team (same holds good for most team members in terms of picking a project or manager of their choice), it’s a job that has to be done and doesn’t offer much of a choice. Time then to summon the most enterprising souls in the team (No We Can’t do it ourselves, however hard we try), who’re always up to the task of organizing (whether they’re organized or not).

Cheering1A bunch of enthusiasts went around and managed to find a fairly new place (along the Expressway to Excellence, err.. East Coast Road), that’s the farthest we’ve gone for team outings so far. Transportation and other logistics were planned and done swiftly (you may ignore the crushing sound arising from grinding of teeth by the organizing committee members, unless you were one of them) and everyone started (or at least pretended to) looking forward to D-Day (‘all’ isn’t necessarily a synonym for ‘everyone’ in this case).

The events in such outing resemble an endless beginning as they don’t begin with the end in mind (remnants of a recent 7 habits workshop) and typically go on like this…

  • Screaming7Wake up early (despite it being the weekend, when usually your parent or spouse are averse to disturbing the Kumbakarnan hidden deep within – children don’t give a damn, of course) and get ready.
  • Board a vehicle (bus if you’re lazy to drive or a friend’s car if they committed the cardinal mistake of announcing that they’re going to drive to the venue).
  • Cheering2Reach the venue (you may get a free tour of roughly 10-20 kms past the venue when the bus or car zips past the venue, which usually has a 80% chance, especially if there are highly enthusiastic souls on board who firmly believe the journey is the destination and keep you and the driver continuously distracted).
  • Sheepishly enter the hall or place for get together (not wanting to be caught being late, but realizing soon that you’re indeed one of the first to arrive)
  • Have a welcome drink (which usually is a watered down version of some juice that neither quenches your thirst nor supplies sufficient energy to survive the first hour) or breakfast (irrespective of whether you’ve already broken fast before starting or not).
  • Start the ‘hi’, ‘hello’ small talk routine (which will continue till end of the day, thereby ending up as one long talk).
  • Cheering3Gawk incredibly at the variety of costumes (ranging from same-old-same-old to nice and easy to trying-hard-to-look-a-decade-younger to downright bizarre) and those wearing them (invariably wondering ‘man… how the heck did I work with or manage these nut cases all these days’).
  • Screaming4Join the line or group to play, which is always a mix of routines including but not limited to screaming at the top of your voice (though no one’s going to hear what you say in the ensuing commotion), running around (varying from jogging to sprint to speed walking, irrespective of your sports cred), holding hands (either someone else’s or one’s own, usually the latter), discovering totally new ways to use balls and balloons (that’s got nothing to do with playing with either), laughing your heads off at everything anyone does (without realizing they do the same while looking at you) and doing all kinds of crazy things that you dare not do on any other day (in front of any other person).
  • Eat or drink at regular intervals (which happens at random) irrespective of whether you’re hungry or not.
  • Puppy_PotpourriTry to please the boss by getting him a drink or soup or helping her jump the queue for lunch (the fact that most such outings happen around the annual appraisal time does have a telling effect).
  • Dance like there’s no tomorrow (irrespective of the fact that the only step you know resembles flying a kite while stamping on a spider repeatedly) and
  • Run out of gas long before winding up for the day (it’s back to work the next morning)!

Screaming6There’ll also be characters that just sit around in groups as if it’s just another day in paradise and keep on yakking about everything in the universe (except the outing itself) all day long or stand in a corner clapping their hands (cheering ‘em up eh) or keep walking in and out of the venue (you might actually end up concluding they’re the organizers looking at how busy they’re) or just vanish after the breaks!

Screaming5But this post isn’t about those who just exist in such outings but live them up instead. The following traits will help identify the souls whose sole business of belief is truly, madly, deeply having fun.

  • Trying to be an Ikeator assembling teams, organizing games or helping the event management team voluntarily
  • Explaining the details of each game and plotting the winning strategy, not just to their group
  • Dragging the ‘OMG, what am I doing here’ type participants into games (and making them feel like Toys R Us)
  • Screaming2Cheering every game or performance with relentless screaming and clapping
  • Offering their service without being asked from serving food to setting up the PA system to pulling everyone back after the breaks
  • Dancing or running around like crazy (never letting others enjoy their life on the slow lane)
  • Seizing the moment without bothering about the bosses or their position in the hierarchy
  • Ratcheting the energy of their group tirelessly, irrespective of the time of the day
  • Ensuring everyone enjoys the event, irrespective of whether they seem interested or not
  • Staying back to complete the settlement and cleaning up, if required, at the end of the day

Cheering5The objective of such a gathering is to leave lasting memories of getting together with the known and unknown. These souls are the live wire of any such gathering who make such outings memorable and cherished till next year.

Team outings are all about day long nonstop fun (unfortunately there’s no skill pill to boost your FQ). These blokes supply the much needed oxygen that keeps the group alive and kicking, all day long.

Without them it’ll just be a day out with the team. But with them it’s the best day of the year with the same team. Just watching them will make us feel guilty about the absurdity of our existence in the outing!

Milo1bTeam outings are fantastic free opportunities to sweep aside our titles and shed those jumbo sized egos to be joyful and have fun, together. The next time you choose to be a part of such an outing (irrespective of whether you were this time or not) but don’t know how to live it up, find the ones who joyfully do one or more of the above. And join them (without performing a 5-Why analysis of how they’re so joyful)!

Child-creativeOur world will be a dreary place without such joyful souls, who not only know how to have fun but also supply a healthy dose of Vitamin F(un) to ensure everyone else has fun too. The least we can do in return is to cheer such souls who keep our world a joyful place. And Joy begets Joy. So join me and scream loudly “X Cheers to Vitamin F!

 

Love + Gratitude = @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & spread the cheer!

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6 Responses to “X Cheers to Vitamin F!”

  1. Dani December 4, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    //‘man… how the heck did I work with or manage these nut cases all these days’// LOL.. I am intended to think of someone 🙂
    //The objective of such a gathering is to leave lasting memories of getting together with the known and unknown// Very true 🙂

    X Cheerss to Vitamin F 🙂
    I am relating my self more to the joyful soul..not sure i i am right 🙂

    Enjoyed reading this Prakash.. a fun filled insight into Team outings.. good one 🙂

  2. Sangeetha December 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Lovely post with apt pics (as always). 🙂 Reading ur post, looks like d Chennai outing was a blast with super fun and dance. Kudos to the organizers.

    Ws hoping to get a glimpse of some ‘noteworthy’ pics of d outing too. 😉

  3. Deepthi December 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Thank you for the post.. Enjoyed reading it 🙂 Loved the description “Dance like there’s no tomorrow (irrespective of the fact that the only step you know resembles flying a kite while stamping on a spider repeatedly) ” 🙂
    Kudos to the organisers and the ones who kept the fun going in the outing.. They are the ones who kept going, come hail or rain 🙂

  4. Srithika December 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Loved the post, missed being part of the Fun.. Look at those images! they brought the moments alive. Send me your resume Prakash, I know an ad agency that is hiring ‘creatives’ 😉

  5. Soumya Santhanam December 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    phenomenal post, Prakash Swamy. I could feel the verve of the outing through your eloquent writing although I couldn’t be physically present. So happy for all of you and kudos to the organising team.

  6. Jairam Mohan December 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Completely agree with what you have said in the post here. The few folks who do the organizing, and ensuring that everybody in the group participates in the outing and have fun with the rest of the group, these are the people who are the most under-appreciated and most misunderstood ones as far as the outing is concerned. Hat-tip to all of them. Hope you had fun in your team outing.

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