Because for almost 30 years we were in the incentive and motivational marketplace, we tried to practice that internally. When we secured big programs or achieved benchmarks, we celebrated as a team. Some of these activities included:
-loading employees and their families onto a bus in St. Joseph for a "surprise" destination: ESPN Zone in Chicago (just an hour and a half away from St. Joe). The bus trip, filled with coolers of beer and snacks, might have been a little more fun than the time spent at ESPN Zone - even for the kids!
-an annual "picnic" that ranged from beach parties to bowling tournaments to golf outings (as I recall, one rain-out day included playing Twister in the warehouse and setting up the food on the packing tables)
-sample sales, mini-trade shows and "Girl's Nights" where we invited female customers to join us for an evening of wine, cheese, chocolate and new incentive products
-Holiday parties involving Secret Santa and White Elephant gifts (there is a gaudy sunburst clock somewhere that is still probably making the rounds...)
In the very early years, all of our Design Incentives employees were women and we celebrated accordingly: hot tub parties, shoe-shopping and the ever-present Spa Day. I'll admit that I'm in the minority: I'm not a fan of the Spa Day and would never go there on my own. I do not enjoy strangers touching me. Once I tell you my Massage story, you'll understand why.
Here we are in Chicago, celebrating a large contract. We are getting "pampered" and then heading to dinner. Some of us are getting manicure/pedicures, some are getting facials and a couple of us are getting massages. I drew that short straw. First: I do not find laying on a table undressed except for a towel, about to be massaged by a large gentleman named Chuck to be relaxing. Chuck then turns on what he perceives to be a relaxing soundtrack: the Rainforest. Not for me. When I hear rain gently cascading through the trees, I'm just thinking, "bad hair day".
So I'm on my stomach on the table trying desperately to un-clench all of my muscles. Chuck eventually turns me over on my back and works up from my ankles. When he gets to my, ah, chestal region, he asks, "may I move the towel?" Thinking that he needs to adjust it in some manner, I say, "whatever". Chuck proceeds to fold the towel down to about my waist and continues massaging. At this point, I'm wondering whether he's paying me for this...or I'm still expected to pay him. Really not comfortable with all of this and DEFINITELY not relaxed, I tell Chuck I'm done already - "I'm good" - and my "treatment" is over.
While we're at dinner, we're all talking about our experience. Everyone else is happy and relaxed - new nail polish, fresh faces with make-up applied, and me - reporting that they are on their own for the next spa day, count me out. They're all pressing to find out why I hate it so much. I describe my experience and there is total silence - followed by clarifying questions: "Um...where did he move the towel? Then he massaged you where?" - followed by howling laughter. Apparently mine was not the typical massage experience. (Did you ever see the Friends episode where Joey is getting a suit altered and the tailor is "checking his package" while he measures the inseam...also not a typical experience. That's the story that Design Girls tell on the heels of my Massage story...)
A word to my friends who feel the necessity to "bond" at Spa Days: I'll probably be busy that day...or I'll be opting for the mani/pedi.