Company Picnic

Saturday I attended my husband's company picnic.
He had been dreading it for weeks, and I could relate because I loathe our company picnic.
But our reasons for disliking them were vastly different. He's not a very social person, and wasn't really up for seeing co-workers on a weekend. I could understand that. But my reason for hating my company picnics are different.

Let me describe you my normal company picnic. For one, it's always held on a weekday, 9am - 5pm. It's mandatory. Any work events, attendance is mandatory. Because nothing facilitates a good time amongst employees more than forcing them to be there, am I right? Also, it's employees only for the most part. Between 9am and noon, we discuss the history of the agency, or talk about how great the boss is for creating it, lame, boring, snooze-worthy stuff. The last one we had involved a trivia game which upped the entertainment factor slightly, but he hated it. The trivia game was followed by a seemingly never-ending video recorded by older staff, talking about what was great about the agency. It also included some quips about his "succession plan", another thing he didn't like. In the afternoon hours, lunch is served and then guests are allowed, though rarely do people bring any. The rest of the afternoon is spent in cliques, people eating, a lot of them drinking and that's about it.  These picnics take place in a park or forest preserve, aside from board games, little additional activities are planned.

Saturday's picnic went something like this: we pulled up (yes, we, because families were welcome) to this beautiful area that the company had reserved for its use. I knew immediately that things were going to be different, this was obvious to me the minute I saw the parking attendants. Parking attendants!!?? We didn't even hire those when we had our Open House and had 300+ attendees. We were directed to our parking spot and another car parked right next to us. The guy came out and shouted with joy as he saw my husband and said hello. We walked towards the crowd where he was once again greeted profusely by some ladies that directed us towards the registration table (Registration table!). He gave them our names, we were each given a water bottle with the company's logo on it, a wristband for the food and a raffle ticket. That's right, they had raffles.

We walked back towards the food area with many interruptions. I kind of felt proud of how people seemed to genuinely like my husband. They went out of their way to say hello and introduce their families and themselves to me. He works so hard and stresses often, so it was nice to see he was appreciated by his co-workers. One guy even went as far as to tell me that I was lucky to have landed him (he was my least favorite person I met that day, ha). But everyone made sure to tell me that he was so nice and that they loved him. My favorite part was that both the office workers and the factory workers approached him to say hello. There was an obvious divide between office workers and factory workers, but my husband was one of the few exceptions. He was friendly with everyone and that was really nice to see.

As we approached the food tables, the CEO came up to us and made recommendations, as he introduced himself to me. There were two options: Taco Buffet or BBQ. Food options? What? I must say, at our company picnics, food is rarely the issue. We generally get good food. But I'd rather get good food at a place I don't dread going to. Not only were there food options, but activity options as well. You name it, they had it: Ice cream truck for both adults and kids, bouncy house, huge pool for all to enjoy, a rock climbing wall, a clown that made balloon shapes for the kids and my favorite, the dunk tank. The CEO got in, several managers, it was great to see. I'd pay a lot for my boss to get in a dunk tank for 5 minutes. He doesn't get that something like that makes him relatable and makes him be seen in a positive light. 

After food and activities, the raffle was held. Several items were given away; flat screen tv's, blue ray players, sporting event tickets and cash prizes. We left right before Bingo got started, but there were also prizes for that. As we headed home we both admitted that we had a great time and really enjoyed ourselves. That's what a company picnic should be like. No employee had to spend the picnic working, organizing, cleaning up, setting up, etc. On our company picnics, no outside help is brought on, we have to do everything, right down to unloading the ice from the truck. Don't get me wrong, my husband's company is far from perfect, they have their issues as well. And the CEO isn't the best person in the world either, but the ability to make the employees forget about all that, if for one day only, made him a winner in my book. My boss could stand to learn a little something from him.

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