4 Trust-Building Exercises To Avoid At The Corporate Retreat

International Pillow Fight Day 2014

Your annual company retreat is something everyone in the office dreads with the kind of abject horror typically reserved for dental surgery or jury duty – but it’s mandatory, so you better buck up and enjoy that weekend at a moderately-priced hotel located just a four-hour bus ride from headquarters.

What you DON’T have to do, however, is buy-in to the ‘trust-building’ mind games that the overlords at corporate have decided will help bring the team closer together. In fact, if you’re hoping to avoid any awkwardness and have the weekend pass as smoothly as possible, you need to do your best to avoid participating in any of these dubious activities.

1. Truth Train

Truth Train is a trust-builder where everyone sits in a circle and then lies about what they hate most about their co-workers. Much like ‘Global Thermonuclear War,’ the only way anyone wins this game is by not playing. Or, alternatively, you could gang up on Jane, whose functional alcoholism, conference room nap breaks, and Tourette’s-inspired vocabulary has her right on the edge of employability already. Time to tell the group how you find her constant use of ‘reply-to-all’ to be ‘charming, but misaligned with company goals.’

2. Spider Dodge

It’s simple: there’s a bucket of spiders, someone is tied to a chair, and the lights are flickering on and off like a slow-motion strobe. Do you really trust that your officemates will going to be able to throw those hairy eight-legged freaks as close to your face as they can without making contact with your eyes, ears, nose, or mouth – or any of your body’s other spider entry-points? Of course you don’t. Nor do you want to delve too deeply into why this particular game is taking place after hours in the basement of a Howard Johnson, and why management is charging admission to people as they come in off the street.

3. Clown Wrestling

You aren’t sure how your boss was able to change into that anatomically-correct clown costume so quickly, or why he locked the door behind you once the two of you had entered the fifth-floor bathroom, but one thing is for certain: next year, you’re going to do everything in your power to avoid Clown Wrestling.

4. Paintball Massacre

You’re not sure who decided it would be fun if everyone in the office shot themselves in the head with their own paintball gun, leaving the VP of Sales to wander through a hay bale maze alone to gaze at the ‘bodies’ of his former reports – but that’s the kind of shit that haunts your dreams like the end of ‘Full Metal Jacket.’ Feign dysentery, order room service, and watch ‘Price is Right’ reruns instead. Trust us: you don’t want to leave your soul out there on the paintball field.

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