The Art of Team Building.

Field agents are our bread and butter, they are also a right royal pain in the arse. Normally we don’t interact with them outside the office environment, although, there is the Christmas get together which is the predictable sea of tuxes, chiselled jaws and designer stubble. If you’re asthmatic you really have to be careful, the toxic array of so many colognes in one place can literally take your breath away. Frankly I’ve always been puzzled how anyone can use so much aftershave yet still have all that designer stubble. Aftershave, surely the clue’s in the name, still, agents will be agents.

Today, we are all attending a team building exercise courtesy of 40 commando Royal Marines at Norton Manor Camp. We are used to training with the armed forces, although this varies depending on what job you do.

Admin usually get to play with the Army Physical Training Corp, who according to them, work with us to improve cardiovascular function and foster an appreciation of physical fitness. According to us, they are trying to kill off the weak. I’m sure rumours of them taking bets on who’ll pass out on the assault course are just that, although on the other hand thinking about it……

Field agents have escape and evasion, and weapons training with the S.A.S. The interrogation familiarisation program is said to be brutal. Just when the agents are beginning to enjoy hiding out in the woods, they are rounded up and invited to experience hell. They come back introverted and humbled…sadly this doesn’t last; two weeks of playing with automatic weapons and high grade explosives and they’re back to their old selves.

Someone in H.R. noted the differences in training, and decided in their infinite wisdom, that a joint team building exercise will bond us all together, to give each other an appreciation of each others roles. I once asked a field agent what is was he thought we do? I am still a little puzzled by his answer…and why anyone would want to do that sort of thing in the office is beyond me. Anyway, the upshot of all this is a team building away day, which is why we are all standing on a rain soaked parade ground getting yelled at by 40 Commando’s Sergeant Major.

“Using only your own initiative and the supplies provided, you must make your way to Bristol, approximately 51 miles north east of our current location. You may not use public transport. All you have is each other. You will be hunted throughout by members of 40 Commando. You will have half an hours head start. On my mark, GO !”

The supplies provided are a number of dilapidated bicycles with various defects. From a distance it just looks like a pile of rusted scrap, ignore that, on closer inspection it is just a pile of rusted scrap….i hate my life….is it too late to get a transfer to accounts? 

On the word ‘Go’ the field agents push us aside and descend on what, for the sake of being pedantic, we’ll call bikes.  Leaving the broken ones, they take everything that’s vaguely functional, and head out of the gate before the Sergeant has finished speaking. So much for cooperation and whole team thing. 

As they disappear, Alan tentatively raises his hand. The Sergeant begins to shake his head, and motions for Alan to lower his hand.

“Are we allowed to use the contents of our pockets ?”

‘What?…Yes….if you think half eaten biscuits and Monster munch will help, knock yourselves out. ”

“It might……and no public transport?”

“Correct……no public transport. Anytime you’d like to set off , you know you can, right ?”

Alan pulls out Iridium 9555 satellite phone and twenty minutes later, and ten  minutes before the hunter team set out, an RAF Merlin HC3A Helicopter courtesy of 28 Squadron arrives on the parade ground.

“They owe me a favour.” Alan explains to the irate Sergeant, whose screams of protest are barely audible over the engines.

 “Sorry I can’t hear you, the rotors. Have to go now, these things are ever so expensive.”

There’s a reason that admin gets to stays in a warm office, and it has nothing to do with brawn.

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