DAY 1—10:00 AM

Good morning, everybody. Today we’re here to learn how to work as a team. You might be wondering, “Why is the team-building coordinator dressed like Barbarella in a Sioux headdress?” Well, I’m sure many of you know how disappointed I was when I found out I couldn’t take this week off to go to Burning Man. Instead, I had to plan and run this summit in the place of our boss, my dad. It made me realize that no one here appreciates the importance of Burning Man.

I know you all roll your eyes when I break out my scrapbook with pictures of my friends, Doctor 100% Fun and Cowboy Bruce, dueling in the Thunderdome, or the Demon Empress pretending to hump me during a rave. I mean, I look at photos of your spouses and children—so what about my family in Black Rock City?

Then I realized I was being unfair. How could you understand? You’re Burn virgins! So I’m going to show you: the temporary desert community is, in fact, the ultimate team. Role-playing and trust games can’t compare to the morale-boosting power of art, arson, and costumes covered in glow sticks.

Consider this: why aren’t you dressed like Barbarella in a Sioux headdress? To work as a team, we must start looking like a team, or in Burn-speak, a “camp.” I know how much everyone hates the usual office function T-shirts. Breathe easy—it’s nothing like that! In the containers at the back of the room, you’ll find a selection of feathers, sequins, glow sticks, body paint, and multicolored undergarments from American Apparel.

But before we start, let’s identify our camp theme. Think big. Think abstract. Think shiny. While you brainstorm, I’ll be playing trance music synched up to the trippy visual display that comes with Windows Media Player…

Okay… What’ve you got? Brad says “escape.” Hoping to “escape” this exercise? Just kidding. You can’t leave. This is mandatory! Actually, I like escape. Thoughts? Wake up, people! Is “escape” cool?! You can escape with imagination—to jungles, planets, anywhere!! Just not literally out of this conference room. I’ve locked the doors.

Let’s get dressed. Go team!

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DAY 1—11:00 AM

Looking around, it seems like you’re all going too minimalist. Todd, you only have one feather poking out of your shoelace, and Erica, there’s just a single sequin on your cuff. Those aren’t costumes. There are NO SPECTATORS AT BURNING MAN. Did I mention that participation in this summit comes up during your biannual review? We can do better. Todd, let’s make you some kind of animal. I’ll leave it up to you, but have fun with it! By the way, a unitard is now mandatory for your costume.

Add more flavor to your outfits. Deep down, I know you’re all sexy, tribal beings. Let’s express it! We’re here to learn more about ourselves and each other! Bathroom access to all those who complete their costumes!

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DAY 1—2:30 PM

Cheryl, I received your e-mail entitled, “Where’s my fucking Gumby?” Although I did borrow a few people’s desk trinkets while everyone was at lunch, it’s for the good of the camp. Since sharing is a huge part of Burning Man, I left some magical gemstones in your cubicles in exchange.

I present the following art installations:

  • Father Earth
    Foreshadowing the effects of global warming, the left side of Father Earth’s green body has melted. Torches—that is, lit Newports, courtesy of Gladys—surround him. Is doom inevitable or can we escape it? Stop crying, Cheryl, this Gumby’s gallery material!
  • Mind in Motion
    Escaping stress is tough. Listen to everyday concerns (e.g. “Do I love my wife?” “Will I be fired for not participating in the office Burning Man?”) recited over speakerphone. Watch as Erica’s Jeter bobble-head trembles and attached LEDs highlight different brain areas.
  • Transcendent Flow
    Brad’s Rite-Aid meditation fountain + three glow sticks = luminescent waterfall!

Let’s take a moment to walk around the table and interact with them. Feel free to touch. They’re communal! I also placed a few djembes and bongos around the room in case the art inspires a drum circle.

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DAY 2—10:00 AM

I’d just like to start by saying that while my dad’s on vacation, all his e-mails route to me, so it’s rather pointless to complain about my approach to team building or suggest that I undergo sensitivity training.

With that said, I’m so pleased you all wore your costumes to work. I really feel like the camp’s coming together. Today, we’ll be focusing on gifting. I told you to bring in something that you could give to others. Frank brought Smarties that look suspiciously similar to ones in the receptionist’s candy bowl. Gladys brought coupons. Erica brought stickers… nice to see you participating, girl! George brought his business cards… pretty lame, George.

I’ve set up a small lemonade stand. That’s my gift. I don’t want any physical items, though. For merely a great poem or tale, you’ll receive a beverage. But it has to be good! If it’s anything like Brad’s boring story about his second divorce, no dice.

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DAY 2—2:00 PM

Congrats on completing the summit this year, camp!! We’re going to be the most cohesive group ever! To celebrate our fine work these past two days, we will burn the Man! Since we already have Gumby here, I figured we’d use him. Everybody hold hands in a circle. Cheryl, you’re squeezing a little too hard. See your nail marks in my hand?

While I respect your concerns as the floor fire marshal, George, I’m a trained pyro-performer. We don’t have to worry about setting off the smoke detector. I took out the batteries. Also, I’m really not keen on the use of the phrase “OSHA violation.” Saying it repeatedly makes me feel like we’re not working together. You guys really are no fun sometimes.

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DAY 2—2:15 PM

Stop yelling. It’s hard enough speaking over the hall fire alarm. We’ve come to the most important stage of our experience: leave no trace. That means all evidence of this event must be destroyed (including those e-mails questioning my authority/sanity). No one can leave until we’ve cleared the room. Soon, all we’ll have are our fabulous memories. Hurry up, though—I hear sirens.