Save Me from the Company Retreat

Dear Cubicle Coach:

I'm dreading the two-day company retreat next month. What really happens at these things? Are we going to climb ropes and try to bond? Be scrutinized as we play Pictionary?

Dear Dreadful:

You can learn a lot about your colleagues — good and bad — in a non-office setting. Which dormouse leads the way to the dive blues bar? Which actuary does a mean Worm? Which married guy suddenly has a bare ring finger? If this is your first corporate getaway and you're not scheduled to present or do anything else in the spotlight, lay low and soak up the scene. CC has advised you before not to drink more than you can very safely handle (not easy, since you'll be nervous) or to hook up with anyone — people will know and will remember everything. As for the team-building exercises, CC once was blindfolded and tied up with 10 other staffers, who were then told to find their way to the exit. Believe me, teamwork would have been better encouraged with $50 raises and proper office ventilation. All that this closeness revealed was who had the garlic chicken the night before and that it was, indeed, time to find the exit.

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