BEAT THE RE­TREAT

GQ (Australia) - - GQ INC. -

WELCOME TO THE NEW FI­NAN­CIAL YEAR AND THE CON­TIN­UAL RISE OF THE COR­PO­RATE RE­TREAT. WHILE THE THOUGHT OF SPEND­ING A FEW FULL DAYS OFF­SITE WITH COL­LEAGUES IS PER­HAPS LOATH­SOME, IT NEEDN’T BE – NOT WHEN ARMED WITH OUR GUIDE TO MAK­ING IT WORK AS A STEP UP THE CA­REER LAD­DER.

On the stu­pid­ity scale, these guys were right up there. Sent out on a team-build­ing ex­er­cise, six em­ploy­ees from HSBC in the UK de­cided – in what can only be de­scribed as a group brain ex­plo­sion – to flm a mock ISIS be­head­ing, com­plete with or­ange jump­suit, and post it on In­sta­gram. Ex­ec­u­tives from the bank were swift to dis­tance them­selves from the staff mem­bers and ter­mi­nate their po­si­tions within the com­pany. Even if you’re not a rolled­gold fool, the words, ‘cor­po­rate re­treat’ can de­liver a cold stab of fear through your chest. For a start, you’ll (usu­ally) be spend­ing an en­tire week­end in the com­pany of peo­ple with whom you al­ready spend fve days a week – and some­times a cou­ple of evenings, too, depend­ing on whether at­ten­dance at func­tions forms part of the job de­scrip­tion. Suf­fo­cat­ing days trapped in a win­dow­less room come to mind, with no view but a white­board for hours on end, bro­ken up by zip-lin­ing across a for­est or play­ing a se­ries of ‘games’ meant to build trust and team­work. Af­ter the sun goes down, end­less rounds of drinks – whether you’re at a for­mal din­ner or a cos­tume party (se­ri­ously, where’s the hu­man­ity?) – can lead to all sorts of po­ten­tially re­gret­table shenani­gans. Back in the ’80s, Ap­ple was banned from a Cal­i­for­nian re­sort af­ter night­time nudie swims and a beach bon­fre at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the lo­cal con­stab­u­lary. Closer to home, a friend of GQ was fred af­ter at­tend­ing a party in what was deemed a NSFW cos­tume, dressed as Gene Sim­mons from KISS. Else­where, another name­less exec still strug­gles to live down the day a waiter pre­sented him with his false teeth on a tray. On the lash with col­leagues in the same ho­tel bar the night be­fore, he’d some­how man­aged to lose them in the sofa cush­ions. (No, we’re not sure how he man­aged to go a whole day with­out them ei­ther.) De­spite such hor­ror sto­ries, cor­po­rate re­treats or work con­fer­ences, when han­dled cor­rectly, need not be a com­plete waste of time or face. With just a lit­tle plan­ning and mind­ful­ness, think of it as an op­por­tu­nity to show your worth and, most im­por­tantly, con­nect with col­leagues.

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