You’ve got to be kidding?

If it’s May, then i’m on the road.  Yet another unnecessary business trip – this one, mandated by The Director for the eight of us with the common job function.  This trip, while of interest, was not time critical.  Given that the eight of us have a rather important product due on Thursday, the timing was pure shit.  Given that this trip requires driving – 300 miles away, with no direct air service – it ends up being two days out of the office.  We won’t return home until late Wednesday… and product delivery starts at 8:00 am Thursday.

The trip was orchestrated by a senior manager, P, who didn’t share our view that this trip wasn’t time critical.  The Director and our Chief Scientist are also along for the visit.  Vans were hired, drivers assigned, and the big ol’ group-grope was underway.

Not feeling particularly sociable, i sneakily made my own arrangements and hired a car.  Told the rest of the group that i’d join them there.  One other woman shares my general world view, and i offered her the chance to avoid the van.  She was grateful, and accepted…

We had a great drive, making amazing time and sharing hardcore work gossip office intelligence along the way.  Arriving at the hotel?  A somewhat run down Days Inn* – a ‘park-at-your-door’ place, adjacent to a decent Hampton Inn, and across the street from a lovely Doubletree Hotel.  i had to double check to make sure i had the right place, where P had booked a block of rooms for the 15 travelers.

Confirming the disaster ahead, we checked in, and were a bit incredulous at the quality of the hotel – a place that i would gladly stay at if i were traveling on my own, but NOT a place i want to be on an unwelcome (and inappropriately mandated) business trip.

After a quick inspection of the rooms, we hightailed it for the nearest drinking establishment.  We sent an e-mail to P – “Have you arrived yet?” and he wrote back “Yes, we’re just preparing to head to dinner.  If you’d like to join us, meet outside the hotel”.  i wrote back:  Are you staying at the “park at your door, bring your own sheets, smoke-filled place, or are you at a hotel with real glasses in the bathroom?”.

No response.

We then hoofed it across the parking lot to meet the departing dinner crew… after just two beers and some unbridled outrage, i was pretty lit, and immediately hit P with “You are TOTALLY going to have to smell my sheets, Sir”.  Just as The Director appeared.  My companion said the look on his face was precious!  We had some more “you can’t be serious” discussion, but once i’d confirmed that P and the senior folks were also staying at the same venue, we let them go… 

Oh, and the fact that we were still carrying bottles of beer from the bar?  Probably didn’t go unnoticed.

We wandered across the street and found a nice bar at the Doubletree.  Glass elevators?  Wow.  While knocking back more beer, we sent the e-mail to The Director and Chief Scientist:


We have indeed confirmed a suitable team-building venue exists at the Doubletree Hotel, should you care to join us after dinner.  It’s left to your discretion as to whether to invite P…”. 

Very respectfully,


I copied P… but only at the suggestion of my colleague.   Getting no response, i vaguely wondered if i hadn’t done a little career Hari Kari…

Ater the drink fest, we stumbled back across the street, and ran into some of the other folks who’d been at dinner.  They said that the e-mail was received and both The Director and Chief Scientist snorted appropriately.  As did P.  And once again, i have delayed avoided termination…


* But unlike the Hilton at Tysons Corner, the Days Inn in Cornhole, TN has GREAT wireless.  For $69.00/night.  Amazing….

18 thoughts on “You’ve got to be kidding?

  1. Only $69.00 a night, huh. I don’t pay that much for a month. I hope you at least had your own room. The one time I ever went on a business trip, my cheap-ass company put me in a room with four other women I got back at them, however. I snore big time.

  2. Takes me back to my previous job. The only time senior management felt the engineering staff were “adding value” was when we were travelling and essentially contributing sweet fuck-all to the project. I suspect their strategy was to send us somewhere where we would do the least harm.

  3. Aaaah. The joys of the group trip. When slipping of silently to drink your mini bar dry in blissful solitude is seen as anti-social and contrary to the building of a T.E.A.M, people. Group hug anyone? Pfffft. Can anyone say sexual harrasment?

  4. I’ve never had the sort of job that involved being sent on business trips. Just as well as I much prefer being the one who tells people where to go.

  5. silverstar – it’s ok, and keeping the travel budget safe for future stupid roadtrips. in fact, P is in the room next door to me. returning to the room after our second drinking excursion, i commented to my colleagues that if i overheard P listening to “spank-o-vision” next door, we’d have to start phoning the room. at least those of us with phones…

    kyknoord – good point. with all of us here there are 15 people in leadership positions not sending stupid taskings… hmmm… maybe someone paid P to do this?

    dolceii – “mini-bar”? *snort* That’s a good one! i was just glad there was no six-legged (or worse, eight-legged) livestock in the room…

    az – much better to be able to choose your own travel…

    nm – yeah. scary, isn’t it? fortunately, i’m just good enough at what i do to build a nice buffer zone around myself. can’t break the law, but short of that?

  6. Well, career Hari-Kari for tech people is almost virtually impossible these days (and I’ve almost been an example of that for the last while) due to both the impending baby boom bubble heading into retirement and the fact that young people aren’t very interested in the sorts of jobs that I do.

    Don’t you just hate getting stuck in a smoking room/hotel? After 9/11 I was stranded in Houston, TX. With no return of international flights in sight, five of my colleagues and I elected to rent cars and drive home (a voyage of 2250 miles completed over 53 hours with two overnight stays). The first night we stayed at the Adam’s Mark in Tulsa, OK. I used to live within an hour’s drive of Tulsa and thought I remembered that as being a decent hotel. Wrong. The desk clerk was asleep at the switch. We had one smoker in the group, but I’m pretty sure we all asked for non-smoking rooms. So what does this desk clerk do? Puts us all on the same – SMOKING – floor. It was so gross, but I was so tired I just sucked it up and went to sleep. Now, though, I double check every time I check in at a hotel, even the places that make you sign the $250 cleaning waiver if you dare smoke in their non-smoking hotel.

    Good luck with the rest of the trip!

  7. gnu – The teambuilding happened around tormenting P for being a dink. Even The Director was pissed off – and seemed to take delight in the abuse we all hurled at his fart catcher…

    rob – there’s security in tech, but it’s scary that the talent pool is empty… the trip back to Canada sounds difficult – you were lucky to get a rental car! We had people stranded and considering renting U-Haul trucks to get home…

    uk – been there… smelled that…

  8. Sigh! It’s been years since I last worked in a corporate environment. You know there are days when I think “What the hell have you done giving up all that to become a writer and stare poverty in the face.” When that happens I get all wistful and think about the bad coffee, those wonderful friends you make in accounting, the motivational videos, the interesting experiences you have on trips while the company is cost-cutting, the pep talks from your CEO and the lively offices parties. Damn I miss that coffee.

  9. MdW – My stated goal for a management offsite- held Tuesday morning before the fateful roadtrip – was to drink my weight in coffee. i came close. My kidneys finally threw in the towel. Besides, i had so much caffeine in me that i was physically vibrating and hovering 3′ off the ground…

    and by the way – glad you gave it all up to write. that’s a good thing for you to be doing 🙂

  10. Pingback: How To Get Fired, Part 9 « Trailer Park Refugee

  11. Pingback: Group hug, anyone? « Trailer Park Refugee

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