Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Continuing Education: Most Awkward Moments

Last week, our department was off-site at a Tennessee State Park for some training, company updates, juvenile "team building" activities (some of which bordered on code of conduct violations), golf, and parties that often sparked quicker than a California wild fire.

Earlier today, Ozzy Nelson (click to follow him on Twitter) succinctly blogged his five favorite moments of the training week. I'd now like to blog my favorite awkward moments of the week.

  • Several of our speakers during the week were company management leaders who once worked in our department. Routinely, our senior vice president referred to each one of them as a "former alumni" - the rare, double, grammatical faux pas.

  • One expects to encounter a bit of wildlife when in a state park. Squirrels, mice, snakes, rabbits, loons, and deer live off the land as people and cars visit amongst them. When the wildlife arrives, however, uninvited to a late night party where more folks are packed into a cabin than the fire marshal allows, well that's a different scenario entirely. That's apparently why it made perfect sense (?) for one of my fellow seasoned directors to take issue with a raccoon climbing a tree just outside the front door. He went into the night screaming "get outta here!" like a banshee and tried to cold-cock the coon out of the tree with a half-full beer can. He was unsuccessful but received an 8 score from the judges for his animated behavior and creative use of bland Miller Lite.

  • An otherwise funny, engaging motivational presentation was suddenly made awkward by the inclusion of ebonics. We were introduced to the words "dillipline" (supposedly discipline + diligence) and "excellecution" (excellence + execution I believe it was). I tried to search for these words at merriam-webster.com but got the blue screen of death.
  • Representatives from our external accounting firm were with us for a couple of days and contributed multiple awkward moments including but not limited to: (1) using dozens of PowerPoint slides with way too much 10 point font detail, (2) asking trivia questions such as "who can name all the characters on Saved By The Bell?", (3) having no swag or candy or anything to give away to the one person who actually answered that question, (4) grabbing the booty of one of our female co-workers during a roller-skating game of capture the flag - after he'd already snagged the bandanna from her hip pocket, and (5) opening his remarks the next morning with the line "Its good to see so many young, good-looking ...uh...um...folks in the room." Yes sir, they didn't get to be one of the Big 4 by accident.

  • And my favorite awkward moment of the week is courtesy of our assistant vice president for training who uttered these two memorable quotes during the week:

    "I could just spend all night with [unnamed speaker]. He makes me giggle.", and

    "I like it. That was long AND hard." [her response to a sustained round of enthusiastic applause for her two employees who did the yeoman's work in planning and executing the week]



  1. So, what's the matter with long AND hard?

  2. love awkward moment #3!

  3. What about the SVP comment "tragedy on 9/9." That's definately one I won't forget.

  4. I didn't know Disco Doug was back at E&Y.

  5. @Jay G - Disco Doug not back. But old guard man perm partner is.