Putting the Y in TEAM

Great Y-spectations
Time required: 10-15 minutes

So-called “Millennials” have also been called “Trophy Kids,” as a result of the trend in competitive athletics, and other aspects of life, toward rewarding mere participation rather than actual excellence. Indeed, the expectation of constant congratulations in corporate environments is problematic. Employers are concerned that Millennials will not stay at any job where a steady stream of praise for minimal accomplishment is not forthcoming. In this exercise, each member of the group will, in turn, be complimented by the rest of the group for the most minor achievements perceptible. Broad statements such as “I like your tie/shirt/hair” should be avoided, if they might suggest effort on the part of the other person. Better would be such recognition as “I like that you own a shirt/tie” or “It’s cool that you have hair.” Or, “Nice job breathing.” Remarks should not be sarcastic.

How About Now?
Time required: 15-20 minutes

The group should be arranged in a circle. Going around that circle in one direction or the other, each person should name something that he or she is, at that moment, “into.” A musical performer, for example, or social movement, or literary motif. After each person has named something, the group leader will point to someone in the circle—anyone—and repeat the thing that that other person named. The person pointed to will then state whether he or she is still into that thing. Then he or she will point to someone else in the group. Multiple inquiries of the same person are permitted, since any one person’s honest answers can change from moment to moment.

Literally or “literally”
Time required: 45-60 minutes

Each participant should close his or hers eyes for a few minutes and call to mind three brief, interesting incidents in which he or she literally did something unusual (ate a horse... peed her pants... killed himself). When everyone is ready, each person will tell his or her stories, one after the other, and then the others in the group will have to decide—collectively, after discussion—which of the remarkable actions literally were taken, and which merely “literally”—that is, figuratively—happened.

Time required: Indefinite

Each person in the group should take a minute or two to consider every other person in the group, trying to remember with which of them he or she has had a one night stand—and then, of those, to whom he or she gave a sexually transmitted disease. Each person, finally, should never tell anyone else in the group about this/these embarrassing circumstance(s), even if the person himself or herself is secretly proud of it/them and has already told his or her friends outside the group.

Last Y Standing
Time Required: As needed, but possibly as little as three minutes

The group leader will ask each participant for his her or her cell number(s), and will then send a text blast to everyone’s phone. The goal is to see who can go the longest without reading the text, even though everyone in the group knows it’s from the group leader and does not say anything important. It might even be complete gibberish. As each person’s resolve fails and he or she checks his or her phone, that person is excused from the meeting and allowed to return to work. The last person to remain in the team-building space with the group leader is to be congratulated, then fired. That text could have been very important!

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.