We had an offsite middle management meeting in Croydon yesterday. It was everything you might expect an offsite middle management meeting in Croydon to be, including the dread words on the agenda “interactive game”. When you are a small child and dislike games, you are told that in real life you will have to do things you don’t like and compulsory games are good training for this. What they don’t mention is that the “things you don’t like” will in fact include compulsory games, without even the figleaf of exercise to justify them.

Actually I did bunk off the game yesterday – all four of our department’s representatives bundled into our head of charting’s car during a drinks break and made a run for it before the fun got underway. It turned out that the game involved creating and performing a short ‘sketch’ in which a business manager was received as a hero in the pub for something they’d done for the company. Everyone canvassed described it as excruciating. I guess the idea was to encourage us to take pride in our jobs but all these things do is put an embarrassing gloss on an otherwise productive day.

FUN MUST BE OPTIONAL OR IT ISN’T FUN. I don’t understand why this isn’t a universally accepted piece of common sense. There is nothing worse for morale than being forced to do something unneccessary and unpleasant in the name of entertainment: whereas if you get to opt out and then discover that you are missing out you’ll be much more likely to join the game next time. I’ve found that “creative” people in companies tend to be fiercely dogmatic, though: embarrassment or reticence is to them a sin that needs to be frequently and publically expunged.