Terry Gaither Advice on Team Building, Relocation, and Changing Vocations

Terry Gaither Advice is a sponsored advice column in which Mr. Gaither lends his own advice and wisdom from his twenty years of working in the professional field on Wall Street and his last six years working from his cell in a maximum security, 24-hour watch mental facility.

Dear Terry,
My bosses keep making us go on all of these ‘team-building retreats.’ Basically, they’ll just let us out early and we’ll all go to get drinks at Chili’s or do something else fun. How am I supposed to get out of doing these stupid, stupid activities and get some real work done?
Harumph,
Stingy Sharon”

Two things are apparent in your dissection of the situation: First, that your bosses aren’t utilizing their time in a way that is beneficial for everyone’s best interest and two, that you’re a devil woman who is probably just awful to work with and around. Those two facts sum everything up pretty well.

So, while your bosses are kind of wimpy and are trying to curry favor among their subordinates by getting them hammered, you can always just say “YOU KNOW, WE SHOULD BE DOING WORK NOW” and maybe walk out. This will connote the fact that you disagree with this laid back corporate environment and that animals have crawled inside of your bowels, made a home, lived their lives there, aged considerably, and passed away several months ago. They will – no doubt – already know this about you, but saying things that people already know seems to be something you’d be annoyingly good at.

So the next time your bosses, who seem nice enough, ever try to bond with you or your co-workers, make sure you let them know that you won’t be bought out by kindness, but by bloodshed. Maybe punch someone in the back of the head when you’re storming back to the office that hates you.

Will you marry me?

“Dearest Terry,
I’ve just transferred stateside from England and have found myself in a bit of a pinch. It seems my superiors believe I’m adept at one form of computer linguistics, when I happen to have a mastery of a completely different set of coding. Quite the kerfuffle, indeed. Whatever am I to do?
God Save the Queen,
Frederick Fartjoke”

Wow, a foreigner! I could barely translate your message, what with all the stuffy and snooty and implied authority in your droll British language! Tell me, do you blush and get embarrassed anytime you go into an Indian restaurant or do you bite your lip and look them in the eye? Man, we have got a lot to learn from you Imperialists! Welcome!

Now, as for your problem of relocating to another country for a job for which you’re not in the least bit qualified, the solution is easy. Repeat after me: “Well, in England, we did it completely different.”

This will allow you enough wiggle room to get out of most situations. Your American counterparts will have visions of you working in a cubicle decorated with a lovely table-cloth, ornate frames of your family, your Queen, and of Wimbledon, and a gorgeous tea set, used promptly every day at tea time. Not wanting to seem indignant or worse, unaccustomed to the fanciful stylings of British mannerisms, you’ll be able to get away with a lot before they realize you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.

Oh! And say stuff like “Cheers!” when you leave them. They will just eat that stuff up, like they’re suddenly able to decipher some new language.

“Dear Terry,
I can’t find the will to wake up and go to work every morning. I have this advanced degree, a decent salary, and I’m doing everything I’ve ever wanted to do, but hate it with a passion. What do I do now?
Yikes,
Rotund Robert”

Everyone finds themselves in this situation at least once or twice in their life. Everything they could have hoped or dreamed for happens and – whaddya know – everything they hoped and dreamed for to begin with was pretty freaking stupid to begin with.

I’m not the best at telling you what you should do. That should be your decision, as it will need to ultimately be your fault when you realize how terrible of a decision you made just because you weren’t fulfilled with your vocation or whatever else you heard about in a Wes Anderson movie. But, speaking from my own experience, I can tell you what you shouldn’t do in this given scenario.

Don’t make any sort of deranged phone calls or any sort of electronic communication. There’ll be a paper trail a digital mile long if you do that. No one goes all out and does the whole mangled, wrinkled letter fashioned out of magazine clippings any more. With the right pair of latex gloves and the right attitude, you should be able to get your message across. And if you’re going to throw anything at anyone, make sure it’s light enough that you can actually get it across the room but big enough to inflict some hurtin’. Also, biting is a highly underrated form of conflict resolution. Plus, scratching leaves the other person’s DNA right there under your fingernails, which is totally a rookie mistake.

Not that I did any of these things before.

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