Mandatory Hell

So, as I mentioned before, I recently had the opportunity (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it) of attending a mandatory work event in Tennessee. Needless to say, the idea of visiting Tennessee in July, on what was arguably the hottest week on record, was the sweet icing on top of what was shaping up to be a shit-sundae. To those who don’t really know me all that well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m an introvert. I would much rather enjoy a nice quiet night at home with a good book, some wine, and an interesting film. Order some takeout with some ice cream for dessert and you have my ideal weekend.

Anyway, getting back on track, I wasn’t pleased with the idea of having to attend a mandatory work event, because let’s face it, who really is? But, I was at least looking forward to being able to witness some of the sights and sounds that the country music capital had to offer. Stuff like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, The Johnny Cash Museum & Café, The Grande Ole Opry, The Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery, The Patsy Cline Museum, or even the Nashville Zoo. Well, none of that would happen as none of us would get a chance to see any of that could-be-cool stuff. The itinerary didn’t allow for such things. Go figure. We were in seminars and team-building exercises all day every day for seven days straight. At the end of the day, we had to troop off to local restaurants for dinner… together. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. For seven days. Seven. Days. Remember when I said I was an introvert? Yeah, let me just say, this pushed all my buttons, and not in a good way. The one saving grace, if there can be a saving grace, is that I work with an amazing group of people. It’s just that I don’t even like spending that much time with people I know, let alone folks I just met. You see, up until now, we’ve all only interacted virtually.

I don’t want to come across like I’m complaining about the whole experience, but, well, I kinda am. Even the hotel rooms were… strange. The building itself looked like it was still stuck in the 70s dude ranch décor, which would have been cool if it was intentional, but it seemed more like management’s unwillingness to upgrade to the local decade more than anything else. And the humidity in the rooms was so thick that it made things like papers and clothing damp. Oh yeah, I’m serious. The heat outside, while horrendous – and playing into the whole hell vibe, was at least a normal heat. But inside the hotel was a weird sort of rainforest atmosphere with nary a sloth or parrot to be found. That would’ve made it worthwhile, but alas…

Now, I’m not saying Nashville is a bad place to visit, as I’m sure there are tons of great things to do. But honestly, after this experience, I can’t say I’m rushing to go back any time soon. What an experience to say the least. I feel like I need a vacation after all that, but the more I think about it, that wine, a comfort book, and my couch are looking pretty damned good.

7 thoughts on “Mandatory Hell

  1. Next time they have a mandatory seminar, at least push for VEGAS, BABY!! So hot in July that they have to close the airports during the day because the air goes on strike and won’t hold up the planes any more (literally!) BUT IT’S A DRY HEAT! There are even more fun things there (shows, concerts, a Wreck Center, rides, and oh yeah, gambling) which you won’t be able to do, but at least there’s alcohol everywhere 24/7!

    Of course, by next year they won’t have any water at all, which may cramp their style just a tad…

  2. Fortunately during my 35 years with a large multinational company didn’t include a mandatory conference of any sort. You have my sympathy. As a fellow introvert, my ideal form of relaxation closely approximates yours.

  3. Whoever planned your week clearly needs to be subjected to a similar experience focused on human resouce and management skills and basic psychology, to know first hand how misguided the project was, even for extroverts. I don’t know any employee, in my 30 plus years of managing people, who would have been happy with the week you describe, especially now when we are all trying to readjust to in person post Covid, post work from home life.

  4. The people who set those things up need to talk to a doctor and get medication, that makes them realize that they should let other people ALONE. Sounds truly horrible and you deserve a month off to recover.

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