fits like a glove

Last Thursday, ETP went on an all-company off site to Costanoa Lodge in Pescadero. The scenery was beautiful, and our rooms were so comfortable I think I could have stayed there forever. Most of Thursday was devoted to a team survival trek, which encompassed a handful of survival-style tasks that were dispersed within a square mile area of wild vegetation. We were instructed to complete as many tasks as we could within three hours, with only a few shoddy supplies (tarp, duct tape, a single sock, etc.), a map not drawn to scale, a compass, and our own limited survival skills. Our team was only able to complete three of the six tasks, but damn, we did them well. The first consisted of transporting water from one location to a distant other, using the small stock of supplies we had on hand. With a lot of improvisation and transforming plastic into lining, we managed to bring back enough water to have successfully completed the task. After that, we had to create a compass in two ways: one with just a 3-foot stick and another using a cup, water, wax paper, a needle, and a magnet. After picking our team's random store of knowledge, we actually figured both compasses out and were the only team to successfully do so. Finally, we had to find an injured "rescuer," which was actually a 65-pound dummy, diagnose and attend to his injuries, and evacuate him from the site. All the while, we were hiking through tall grasses, led by dirt trails, and desperately trying to avoid poison oak. One of my team members was wearing a pedometer, and we clocked in about 7 or 8 miles that afternoon. Needless to say, it was an extreme test of intellect, physical ability, and teamwork. So fun, and so exhausting.

Later that evening, after all the showers and food, we had the annual ETP Cabaret, a showcase of employee's talent that extends beyond the usual performing we do at the workplace. Several people did skits, most of which were original and all of which included the humor and topics not entirely appropriate for school-age assemblies. There was some dancing, rapping, musical instrument playing, and singing, of course. I took this opportunity to perform, especially because my personality outside the workplace differs so much from that within the workplace. At work, I'm quiet and diligent, keeping to myself and focusing on the task at hand. I wanted to show people that there was a side of me that was fun, entertaining, and really quite outgoing. As nervous as I was (I still get stage fright after 15 years of performing), I pulled off my song, "Vision of Love" by Mariah Carey, really really well. Though, throughout the performance, some of my more inebriated colleagues were cheering rather exuberantly for me, which made me break out in a fit of laughter during the second verse. At least I know they were enjoying it.

Before heading off to bed, a few co-workers and I decided to venture off the grounds and try to find the beach. In the pitch-black dark, led only by two small flashlights, we walked toward the coastline and pondered things such as the beauty of nature and the power of music. It was one of those kind of nights. We never ended up finding the beach; the path we took led us to a cliff overlooking hundreds of rocks and the crashing waves below. Regardless, it was a fitting ending to an incredible day.

The following morning, we did a three-hour time line activity intended to highlight the connections among the different generations of people in our company. It was interesting to see others' interpretation of the world's events and the different effects on people such things can have. Similarly, we had the opportunity to share some of our lives' most significant moments. I learned that I work with some amazing, well-travelled, and adventurous people. I became inspired by people, both in and out of my generation, that had the courage to explore, and often change, the world around them, and it made me happy to know that I was working with people like this - people who could challenge me to take that next big step.

At the end of it all, I came to more firmly believe in something I had known all along: this job truly is a perfect fit for me. I feel so fortunate to have found such an amazing place to begin the adult part of my life. A place that not only incorporates all of my interests, passions, and strengths into one job, but also a place with people I enjoy being around. Sometimes I can't even believe it's real.

I'm happy to say that I love my job. Really, it's amazing!

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