In Praise of Silliness

Right now, at the TravelAge West office, we’re preparing for our annual WAVE Awards Gala By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

Right now, at the TravelAge West office, we’re preparing for our annual WAVE Awards Gala. As part of the program, it’s become a tradition for the staff to make a spoof video. Our Art Director Deborah Dimond is a true cinematic visionary and, even though it’s a lot of work for everyone, it’s pretty fun too. I think it’s great to step out of our everyday roles and use our creativity to do something different. Some might call this team building but, really, it’s about refreshing the energy of our staff and resisting the office rut.

Of course, sometimes this kind of activity can go horribly wrong. Some of the awful ideas I’ve heard over the years include the pool party (does anyone really need to be in a bathing suit at work); the adrenalin adventure that the boss is really good at and everyone else dreads (nothing bonds a group of coworkers more than the fear of death); and, in Japan, taking a naked hot springs bath with your boss (okay, maybe a bathing suit is not such a bad idea after all).

Just look at the recent “Star Trek” video flap at the Internal Revenue Service to see how a silly idea can get out of hand.

Still, it’s important for a staff to have some fun, blow off steam and not take work, or themselves, too seriously. When I check in with local travel agencies, I like to ask what kind of events their offices’ put together. Some do charity walks or 5Ks, others have creative contests to name new marketing campaigns or products and others have their own take on company outings. You can tell a lot about the morale at an agency based on the level of enthusiasm displayed when someone discusses a company event. After all, we’re in the travel business, and many of us are sending people on dream vacations every day — it’s important to convey a sense of excitement about what we do.

Please share a few of your favorite agency staff events, outings and contests on the TravelAge West Facebook page ( I’m sure we can all use a few creative suggestions.

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