Saturday, October 2, 2010

Continuing Education Memorable Moments: The Sequel

Last year around this time, I blogged my list of most awkward moments from our annual department continuing education seminar. This year was my fourteenth such event. Once again, all 130 or so of us spent four days together in early September off-site at a state park for training, company updates, obligatory team building activities, and late night "social festivities".

Several days ago, Ozzy Nelson (click to follow him on Twitter) blogged the details of one of his memorable moments from this year - one of his own making! I'd now like to blog a few of my most memorable moments of the week.
  • One of our speakers presented on the subject of Accounting for Impaired Assets. The subject was quite appropriate considering the hungover status of much of his audience.
  • A motivational speaker urged us to shoot for an epic failure and study lousy customer service. (Actually, the guy was quite funny AND had a meaningful point at the end of his presentation re: the aligning of failure and success.)
  • Multiple 20-somethings informed me they'd never heard of Wendy’s “Where’s The Beef?” ad campaign.
  • PowerPoint FAIL - by a PricewaterhouseCoopers statistician. (OK, so maybe its a double-fail. I don't know.) This fellow works for what is known as a Big 4 public accounting firm. These folks know accounting, tax, technology, economics, business and personal financial planning, etc. But one thing is clear - they don't know JACK SQUAT about composing a PowerPoint presentation. Did he really think delivering about 50 slides of 8 point font and 200 words per slide with teal-colored font on a white background for a 50 minute presentation was going to work? The only things missing were overdone animation and swishing sound effects.
  • Everyone was asked to dress up for 80s night for our gathering at a local restaurant-beach club-dance hall-bar thing place joint. Two male co-workers showed up with bras on their heads a la Weird Science. This memorable moment could have become an unforgettable moment had they been able to bring Kelly LeBrock with them.

  • After the bra-men worked the room a while, I then got an overview of bra shopping and fitting tips from a female co-worker. Shortly after this informative session, I inhaled, then exhaled, and nodded to our bartender to say "Another beer here please? Um, better make that two."
  • The hired cover band - Rubik's Groove - kicked off Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield. I grimaced at the sound of 80+ people on the dance floor shrieking with glee as the band hit the opening riff. In my opinion, the song was a pretty rotten one when it was released. As far as I'm concerned, it hasn't improved with age. For crying out loud, the singer was an actor on the General Hospital soap opera! I was stunned at the number of our younger staff who not only had heard of it but screamed delightedly and danced merrily as the band played it. This poor, poor generation...
  • A co-worker made a chest wig from hair he shaved off his dog. He had several co-workers stroke it. Sadly, a few of them believed the hair to be his own! While not explicitly saying who did this, you can discern it from... cough... namenearstartofthisblogentry... cough.
  • The lead singer of the band went into the audience with his wireless mic. (If it had been a true 80s band, they would still have used corded microphones and slung them around like Roger Daltrey or Iggy Pop. But I digress.) He approached one of our female staffers who wanted less than zero part of his attention. She tried to feign interest in him - including acting like she was texting someone. But he stuck with it and yelled up at the band “Hey guys, guess what she’s doing. She’s texting someone back here.” Another co-worker - who was truly enjoying her frequent visits from our waitresses - leaned in and asked “did he just say she was tasting someone?”
  • On the return shuttle trip from our 80s night event, multiple co-workers started belting out a lusty, off-key, a capella rendition of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer. After making it through the chorus, the loud voice of a lone female sitting next to one of our department VPs suddenly jumped up and interrupted with "Hey mutha f*****rs, everybody sing Windows to the Wallllll!" A unison laugh resulted - followed by a noticeable pregnant pause - followed by someone thankfully kicking off Journey's Don't Stop Believing.
  • During one of our late nights of "social festivities", another co-worker presented her case to me of the benefits of stripper pole exercising. It wasn't really a debate - I certainly wasn't presenting any counter-arguments. I merely listened intently, asked a few clarifying questions, agreed with every point made, and wholeheartedly supported her endeavor.
With each passing year, I realize more and more how past my prime I am in terms of hanging with the younger crowd. Yet sitting back and absorbing memorable moments such as these keeps me Forever Young (Rod Stewart - 1988 - 80s theme continuance).

For the record, my get-up for 80s night consisted of a Member's Only jacket adorned with buttons of Where's The Beef?, I Want My MTV, and the 1982 World's Fair.

For those who grew up in Nashville in the 1980s, you may also understand this one - one of Carl P. Mayfield's alter-egos:

To complete my ensemble, I snapped a SONY Walkman cassette player to my belt - complete with Synchronicity by The Police.
From time to time, I think I've had enough. Find something else to do - within or outside the company. Yet, sitting around with a smirk on my face, a willingness to observe and listen, and watch others 20 years younger than me rattle off an arsenal of career-limiting moves is generally enough to motivate me to stick around for one more year, one more year, one more year...



  1. Has anyone in IA been hired that was born in the 90's?

  2. @Jay G We're getting close. Betting we'll have some interns next summer born in 1990.

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  4. In this day and age far be it from me to discourage anyone from exercising, regardless of the means by which they decide to do so. It's just an added bonus should it be a manner that also encourages spectators...