Team bonding, but not everyone is happy

Last year, the foreign teachers did a Come Dine With Me-style competition. I’m not a very good cook, and I was put with someone else who is not a very good cook. Needless to say, we didn’t win. This year, somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to do it again. A group meal is a good team building activity, if nothing else. My partner was the teacher who left last semester and so I was assigned a new partner (one group had three people in it, most had two), who happened to be my flatmate. We decided on a menu – fruit salad for starter, pasta for mains and cheese and crackers for pudding. We said no one could use their mobile phones and the entertainment was that people talked to each other, which worked well. Conversation was flowing.

All in all, the evening turned out fine. It wasn’t nearly as stressful as last year, though this morning there were some murmurs of complaints. Why, for example, was there no music? My taste is music is perhaps what you would called ‘eclectic’? Most people would, I suspect, have complained if they heard my favourite pieces of music on repeat several times. A colleague after it told me that there should have been some background music and asked if I’d never been to a restaurant before. They were also a little aghast that I said we had not been in it to win it (they asked why we were doing it at all then) and then told me that I didn’t have to do it. That is true. However, had I not done it, then there would have been criticism, probably from the same member of staff, so this was really a “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation! But, as my manager pointed out recently too, I’m pretty laid back, so I wasn’t really bothered. And it’s over now…. which means that I can enjoy the final two meals (and the last one is said colleague’s which will be ‘interesting’).

I’m glad it went well and there were no problems. And we didn’t have much to clean up afterwards. You can’t please everyone and I knew there would be some who were not happy with our choices. Equally the no phone ruled pleased some people so it was a very divided issue. I don’t think – or expect – us to win, but with two more left, there is everything to play for.

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