The yearly returning country-industry-group-team-event. Yes, this is a category, without appropriate three letter abbreviation. Because in my line of business you are marked, or identified by your geographic location, followed by an industry and ultimately specified with a specific role or title. So you can be placed in a little box, an imaginary cubicle. When you pronounce those exact coordinates in front of your current assignment, people will know what you can do and what you will bring to the table. An intricate mapping system, giving an unwritten but widely known meaning to your existence…well your business existence that is.

Back to the event. This weekend we were summoned to the favorite holiday destination of many Germans. The place where the Dutch summer vibe is interwoven, where you can find the laid back beach environments of The Netherlands. So they say. And even though we are all here for the drinks and social chitchat with close colleagues, we start as always on a more serious note. A business update which will make your head spin. Topics on industry perspective, business outcomes and innovative projects are jam packed in a tight schedule. However we tend to forget that our people love to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Not to be negative, but when I see a watery shimmer of sunshine explode to a full on summer afternoon, my mind seems to have an attention span of less than 3 minutes. Powerpoints and well prepared presentations are followed by a mild team building session. Mild? Yes that would be the case if your were not dealing with highly competitive, slightly aggressive go getters who want to win win win. Katapult building, water bucket filling (while under dodgeball attack), and assault courses with full rigour, focus, dedication and some friendly cheating.

Pumped, alive and full of competitive urges we enter into the part of the program everybody has longed for, eating, drinking, dancing and some serious bullshitting. With an 80s theme, the zuidas righteousness is left behind and with swagger the synthetic colourful outfits are shining throughout. The normal soft-spoken quite colleagues are transformed into wild, loud, talkative dancing professionals. And the always loud and wild are exactly the same, however with some coordination troubles. Trays of beer, seem ripping pole dances, honest thank-you-cards and a polaroid photo booth were embraced with the same dedication and conviction as the day-to-day projects.

With this group of people the party is never over. We all love a good party until the early hours of the morning. So when the unflattering lights pop on at 4 am, the lion’s share of the group is still present, buzzing with energy, looking for an after party. However sleep takes over and the hotel beds are calling. If you might think the next morning is going to waste, where all are laying in bed feeling miserable and totally hung-over, think again. At 10 o’clock sharp our own ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ has prepared a full body, intensive bootcamp session at the beach. Music blasting, his voice carries over the roaring ocean encouraging the brave souls who made it out of bed on time. I would love to tell here that I was part of this group of die hards, but shamefully I have to admit I wasn’t there.

If you were expecting some juicy, exposing, embarrassing, hilarious and shocking gossip, sorry, what happens in Noordwijk, stays in Noordwijk.

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