Company Retreat by JM Paquette

For Dan Neuman

“I’m too fat for this.  What we need here is an action hero, not a bank manager,” Stan muttered as he surveyed the obstacle course before him.

The company retreat had sounded like such a good idea—team building, trust exercises, all that stuff that the consultants said was so lacking at Barnett Bank and Trust. And all those things were great, he had thought, for his team. They really needed to learn to work together. Hell, he had convinced the Board that the retreat was not only necessary, but would positively impact their bottom line!

He never thought that the Board meant for him to join his team in these ridiculous exercises. Staring out across the rope bridge now, Stan knew he had made a terrible mistake. It was one thing to put on the sweatpants and sneakers, to show up with smiles and encouragement and cheer everyone on as they strengthened ties with one another; it was another to actually complete an obstacle course that had clearly been designed for Marine training. The rope bridge was almost twenty feet off the ground! Stan’s vision went gray at the edges as he considered the drop.

And even if he made it across the damn bridge, there was a wooden wall to climb, an actual wall with knobs for handholds as if he could actually climb anything. His resume had a lot to say about bottom lines and cash flow returns, but he had never wanted to actually climb Mount Everest or anything. He left that kind of adventuring to the heroes. He just stayed in his comfortable office and counted the money (insurance policies on extreme sports were a new revenue stream he had developed).

A hand touched Stan’s shoulder, small, but strong and reassuring. “Come on, Mr. Johnson,” Sally Sampson, drive-thru teller, said, face flushed with excitement as she took in the bridge before them. “I won’t let you fall.”

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