I will NOT go on a "team building retreat" on my BIRTHDAY!

My workplace has had some turmoil in the past couple of weeks, leading to my immediate supervior being asked to resign. Lots of conflict and bad blood between the higher-ups culminated in counsel being retained and threats of lawsuits and counter-lawsuits issued. But us grunts in the trenches striving to reach our deadlines were chugging along just fine, thank you very much.

Well, it seems that the Big Boss decided what was needed to mend fences was a two-day team building retreat to some place called Camp Victory. No, it’s not a reeducation camp in Oceania, it’s a freakin’ Christian kid’s summer camp that hosts these damned ropes-course-trust-fall-nightmare death marches during their off season. And guess when the Big Boss wants to schedule this crap? ON MY BIRTHDAY!

I was planning on taking the day off, as is my custom, and quietly contemplating the new ring on my Tree of Life with a mimosa. Now it looks like I will be forced to do singalongs, encounter groups, and god knows what other ‘team building’ exercises.

And here’s the worst part: some materials from Camp Victory were circulated (along with the release form). Camp Victory prides itself on “instilling Christian values for use in everyday life” and boasts of “daily small-group bible study” and “church services in an outdoor chapel.”


I was raised hardcore fundamentalist Christian, and because of that I have been an atheist since the age of 12. I was forced to go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night until I moved out of the house to go to college at the age of 18. From ages 12 to 18 (and a bit before that, really) I spoke up loudly and often in Sunday school, pointing out all of the contradictions and logical inconsistencies and just plain stupid crap I found in the lesson. For at least a decade after that, I was a militant atheist who loved nothing better than to lock horns with any hapless religious person who crossed my path. I was angry, bitter, and ruthless. I destroyed friendships. I yelled and screamed. But a few years ago I turned over a new leaf because I realized I was no better than the intolerant fuckers that made me hate religion in the first place. Now, I don’t care what you believe as long as you keep it out of my face and the Invisible Man who Lives in the Sky doesn’t instruct you to confiscate my home or walk into my favorite restaurant with a strap-on bomb. But let me assure my readers that these feel-good youth ministry refugees have not lived until they have endured a “small group bible study” with me. I have cause strong, zealous Christian men to run crying like little girls and will not hesitate to do it again if I am forced into this situation. I am the world’s foremost expert at the destruction of small group Bible study decorum–I had eight years of practice three times a week. And these flimsy major-demonination Christians aren’t half as tough as the wacko cut-and-paste, fire-and-brimstone, no-instrumental-music Church of Christ holy warriors I cut my teeth on. I’ll have these people sacrificing goats to Baal in under a half hour! I know it may cost me my job, but I don’t think I can control myself! This is absolutely intolerable! Forced into a worship service because of my JOB! ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGHH!!!

Tell your boss that attending a Christian service is a violation of your religious beliefs.

Or lack there of :wink:

You should not be forced into this IMHO.

Since this seems to be such a sue-happy workplace already, tell him that you are gravely offended, and demand that not only you be excused, but any one else who objects on religious grounds. If he quibbles, haul out the lawsuit possibility.

(I only say this because you don’t seem too devastated over the possibility of losing your job)

Don’t show up.

What’s your boss gonna do, come to your house and break down the front door?

Also, if you do end up pursuing a lawsuit, the ACLU loves this sort of thing.

Quite honestly, fuck them. Religious excercises for the company, wihtout any sort of consideration(or even looking into whether or not anybody’s birthday fell on their colossal waste of corporate fucking glut-money) for your special day is bullshit.

I hate managers and higher-ups like this.


See, we are putting these cover sheets on all the TPS reports.

Didn’t you get the memo?

It’s entirely possible that the retreat is going to be held at Camp Victory but not actually run by Camp Victory; it sounds like one of those things that summer camps do to generate some income in the off-season. So it may not actually be a Christian indoctrination thing at all.

On the other hand, it most certainly is a bullshit imposition on your birthday, and unless you’re getting paid time-and-a-half for the entire fucking weekend, I’d either try to get out of it on moral grounds or (most likely) just not show up.

Take the Office Space route: just don’t go, and unplug your answering machine. When they get back all full of camaraderie, and Monday morning they ask where you were, act clueless and say, “Dude! That was THIS weekend? It was my birthday! I went out of town! I thought it was NEXT weekend!”

Another option: take your boss aside and say, “Look, I kick ass at my job and I’m not going on any Outward-fucking-Bound bullshit. Being plenty self-actualized already, I’m not here to make friends; I’m here to put out a magazine, and I do that like the professional I am.”

If the bullshit continues, then I’d pull out the “religious grounds” stuff.

Seriously though, vibrotronica, you don’t sound so good. Are you sure you’re not coming down with something? :cool:

I agree with the others. Religion should not be forced on anyone because of their job. I’d fight it tooth and nail, or magically find somewhere you just have to go that weekend.

I agree with jackelope in that the company just may be renting the facilities for the seminar or whatever it is called. We do that here in the winter months when the camp is not filled with Christian campers.

Dammit vibrotronica! There’s no “It’s my birthday and, as an atheist, I have serious misgivings regarding compulsory attendance at what may be a Christian-themed retreat” in TEAM!

…and I agree with yellowval … you sound kind of congested.

Damn, neofishboy that’s funny.

If it were me, I would probably now plan to have had prior committments that day, being my birthday and all.

You are my new hero, neofishboy.

I intend to find out more details of what is going to transpire at the retreat on Monday when I’m not so fucking mad. I hope y’all are right and they’re just renting the camp for a two-day bitch session. (which still seems like a remarkably counterproductive waste of time to me!)

Anyone ever had any experience at refusing something like this before?

Sorry, no experience in refusing team builds. But then, the team builds I’ve had (my current employer doesn’t have them for people at my level, thank god) included things like touring a local winery (with tasting) and an anti-racism session that consisted of a cookout in the company parking lot and watching “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Well, I’ve never refused a fun-filled team building retreat before (and I’ve been on a lot of them), but I’m a pro at refusing to attend holiday parties on my birthday. See, I had the misfortune of being born a week before Christmas, and ever since that fateful day, it seems as if every holiday party at every place I’ve ever worked, has been scheduled on my birthday. Well, that and finals. I suffered through the first couple years but after that, since I can’t demand finals to be rescheduled, I just flat refused to attend any holiday parties on my birthday. I’m not a big fan of workplace holiday parties anyway, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna spend my birthday at one. It’s bad enough my birthday is often forgotten in the midst of holiday excitment, attending an actual party I don’t really want to be at, where everyone has forgotten is just adding insult to injury.

Ahem! But I digress.

I doubt it’s going to be a Christian retreat. For some reason, I don’t think you work for a Christian company, and being that, it seems highly unlikely that they’d be able to get away with forcing the staff to attend a Christian retreat. That’s got lawsuit written all over it.

I’d go to your boss, say you’ve had a birthday trip planned with some close friends for months now, involving non-refundable airline tickets, and you simply cannot cancel. See how that goes.

Good luck!

You’ve just described pretty much all “team-building” activities as used by corporate America…

“team building” yea, I don’t like them either. been to plenty “retreats” ditto. Add in the religious overtone and I’m all over it, on your side et al.

But I must be in the minority, 'cause to me the concept of taking your b’day off 'cause it’s your ‘bday’ is foreign to me. Never did it myself. Don’t mention my b’day at work, just go about my day. I celebrate w/loved ones later that day or on the weekend or whenever convenient.

In response to Wring’s question:

Birthdays have always been HUGE in my family. I was raised to believe that your birthday was the one day of the year that belonged to you and no one else (notwithstanding others that have the same b-day). Because it’s your day, you therefore have the right to do whatever you damn well please (within reason) for that day. Everyone in my family treated the birthday girl/boy like a king/queen on that day.

Of course, this birthday treatment had it’s drawbacks, too. When I went into the “real world” I was blown away at how little other people thought of birthdays, and was severelly dissapointed when others failed to make as big of a deal out of my birthday as my family had. I developed an overblown sense of importance with regards to my birthday and ended up sorely dissapointed on many birthdays when my overly high expectations shattered.

I’m 26 now, so I’ve had enough time to adjust to birthdays outside the immediate family atmosphere, and have taken to just doing as I please on my birthday, and not developing overly high expectations. Getting a massage, going out to dinner, just relaxing. But I’ve always taken the day off. I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of having my birthday be just like any other day. To me, it’s my own personal holiday. Even though I’m over making a huge honking deal about my birthday, I still FIRMLY believe no one should be forced to do anything they don’t want to do on their birthday. That includes work.

It’s just wrong. :cool:

Preach it, brother. My co-workers are pleasant people, but they’re not my friends. I’m not willing to hang out with them unless I’m getting paid for it.

vibrotronica, most of me hopes that you don’t have to do a lame-o retreat on your birthday. But a tiny, selfish part of me wants you to make “strong, zealous Christian men to run crying like little girls,” just so I can hear about it later.