Culture

Nothing more insufferable than taking a tour bus with colleagues

I am the type of person who hates group activities. Do you know that silly job interview question “do you prefer group or individual assignments?” (Or some variation thereof). I hardly ever believe interviewees when they answer that they prefer group assignments. And when I do believe the interviewee, it’s because they seem to be lazy. To me, lazy people or dumb people for that matter prefer group assigments. Do I seem mean,? Eh. Perhaps, but I bet only to Millenials. Diffusion of responsibility has a stronghold in the workplace. Group assignments play into that characteristic. Anyway, back to me. 

I hate group projects. Detest. On my travels, that hate of group activities transfers over. I cannot stand group tours. I get fidgety, impatient and just a tad bit annoyed.

Now, I will admit that this past month that when I was in South Africa I didn’t mind so much two group tours I took. It was nice to actually hear other people’s perspective and experience. My so. Got along handsomely with the tour groups intersecting himself into their soace, photos and conversations. I briefly thought those others might have been annoyed by him for I surely would have been. However, he developed a fan base and they posed for pictures with him and engaged him in conversation. I thought it odd people wanted to converse with a seven year old. But I look around and the state of the world is up for grabs at the moment. Who am I to judge those on an academic  tour bus who delight in talking to a child that is not their own? Mind you, if this were a public transportation bus in Los Angeles, I would readily judge and shield. Ok. Back to me. 

I was ok with a group tour in South Africa. I started to get used to it. I loved having other people around to take pictures of us. It’s quite handy to have several extra pair of hands. On one small group tour of just 9 of us in a safari van, it was all good. We all helped each other spot the animals. It was quite a communal experience. 

However, the next day I got on a large bus that seemed to have about 57 people on it. Ugh. The ugliness in people came out. We all settled into our chosen seats (those of us that boarded first). Then we had like 10 stops at which we were to get off and back onto the bus. Everyone on the bus, I should note, was attending the same conference. Ugh. On essence, we were all colleagues.  

After our first stop, we all boarded happily as most of the women just utilized a train station bathroom in the dark. Don’t ask. We got on and grabbed our seats. Soon after I sat down I overhear 4 individuals arguing over the sears. One person had moved causing a domino effect of seat displacement. One man started lecturing the others as to how there were no assigned seats. One man was intimidated by the other while another woman just ignored the pleas of another for her old cherished seat. These were all researchers and activists attending an international conference. While people pushed forth the concept of solidarity and grassroots activism with the conference halls, on the bus it was a dogdog eat dog world. I was annoyed and disappointed. I was also back to believing that group tours suck. 

Then as the 8 hour long day tour continued, my ears were exposed to some of the silliest conversations ever. I felt like my brain that had just soaked in interesting, challenging conference data was going to explode from being exposed to ridiculousness. It can happen, you know. Conversations were occurring as to how you pronounce zebra  (soft z or hard z). My seven year old son found the whole conversation amusing laughing his head off. I just snapped my camera away. There is a plus to this all. My attempt to not hear the silly conversations did lead to me taking some great photos. On top of it all, when ever we got off at a put stop the restroom lines were horrible. It took so long to get on and off the bus, that I started reading a novel that I was able to finish. I’m actually kidding. But it would have been a good idea to bring a book to read if I didn’t suffer from motion sickness. Another annoyance? The overall commentary from the peanut gallery regarding everything we saw. 

Going on a tour bus with work colleagues means that at the end of the day you may come to disrespect someone that you once thought was ok or smart. Those individuals that yelled at others over a seat will most assuredly not be part of any project I run in the future. Keep it straight and simple (kiss) avoid touring with large groups of people, especially those you may bump into again some time in the future. 

5 replies »

  1. Tour bus….tough gig.
    As for the work as a team part…I agree. I hate group assignments. One person is designated the worker role while the rest do the minimum, pointless. What happened to people doing work, solo.
    Not sure when the ‘team,team,team,team’ workplace practice came into force but its never been a positive for me. Supposedly team work creates a better work atmosphere etc. I suspect that is bs in most cases.

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  2. I can be “alone” in a group and easily tune out what’s going on around me by concentrating on what I alone want to know, see, hear, etc., kind of like how you could tune out the people you had to step over on your childhood stoop.

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