We’ve all been dragged kicking and screaming to one of these, clinging to our poorly optimized “ergonomic” office chair. They last far too long and have enough buzzwords to fill a dictionary on work jargon. It’s all “productivity” this and “workflow” that, with a lot of yelling and motivational commentary from the CEO. I am talking, of course, about the company pep rally.
At your average company pep rally, everyone gets together and basically pats everyone on the back for their great work. Except it’s always like the same five people, who are all best friends with the upper management. Bonuses are sometimes given out, but almost never to you. Most of the ones I’ve seen last about an hour and have some kind of pointless “pump the group up” icebreaker attached to make them seem plausibly meaningful. In reality, you would be much more productive watching “What Does The Fox Say?” at your desk for 45 minutes.
Sometimes, really silly symbolic gestures or proclamations are made. This could be as silly and wasteful as the company buying everyone batteries to promote positivity within the workplace. Really? You’re going to spend like $10,000 on batteries to give out to everyone to promote an intangible concept? How about you give everyone in the company a cut of that money instead? That’s how you promote positivity. Straight cash, homey.
The who’s who of execs that tend to speak at these things also demonstrates something about the average company. Something you generally don’t want to put on display. The average, and I stress the word average, corporate exec is about as intelligent as anyone else at a company. Occasionally more so. You want the guy that passes out at his desk and drools to go up and speak on long term strategy for the company? Of course not. Some of those assistant VPs aren’t going to be much above that level. This means the average exec speech is not going to be all that enlightening. Your high school public speaking teacher would be sitting in the back of the room crying hysterically if she was forced to listen to all the metaphor-filled speeches at the average pep rally. It’s okay, because you might be quietly doing the same anyway.
There are some redeeming qualities though. It gets you out of an hour of work that you wouldn’t normally have away from your desk, and if you’re skilled you can probably sit in the auditorium and play Candy Crush on your phone with the sound turned off. Most likely your boss and coworkers will be doing the same thing anyway. That’s the other redeeming factor: no one wants to be there, so you can all crack jokes about it afterwards when no one with a mid-six figure salary is around to fire you.