Gosh, isn’t this a pretty dumb thing to do?

July 7, 2010

hot coals walk 490

Blog Guy, the company I work for is having one of those motivational retreats for employees. We’ll face up to our fears, grow as a person, stuff like that. Have you ever been to one of those?

Yeah, I’ve been to a few. For a long time I had a very low opinion of them. I saw them only as corporate bull. Time-wasting, jargon-slinging crapfests for losers who can’t think for themselves.

SPAINGee, you need to stop holding back your feelings, Blog Guy. So when did you change your mind and learn that they can be a positive experience?

Just yesterday, when I read about a “motivation day” organized by a real estate agency. As is often the case, this event featured firewalking on a bed of hot coals.

So you now agree the participants learned something important from this, right?

You bet. It turned out the hotel where the thing was held used the wrong kind of wood and some artificial coal without telling the motivational trainer, and nine people had to be taken to the hospital with burns.

I figure those nine folks learned a valuable lesson. If some dumbass orders you to do something but your instinct tells you it’s really stupid, you’re probably right.

That’s the time to excuse yourself, head for the hotel bar and order a huge martini. Get a seat by the window, so you can watch your colleagues do the charcoal dance all the way to the burn unit.

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Top: Devotees walk barefoot over burning coals on the final day of the Nine Emperor Gods festival at a temple in Kuala Lumpur in a 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim

Left: A local villager lights a carpet of red-hot embers in preparation for other villagers San Pedro Manrique, Spain, during the festival of Saint John, in a 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by robert basler, eBusiness BPO Inc.. eBusiness BPO Inc. said: Gosh, isn’t this a pretty dumb thing to do? http://bit.ly/c12kau […]

Posted by Tweets that mention Gosh, isn’t this a pretty dumb thing to do? | Analysis & Opinion | — Topsy.com | Report as abusive

I thought you would do a blog on Lindsay Lohan….
More inclined to fire than water?

Ok, benching myself! πŸ˜€

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Lindsay Lohan? She’s inclined (literally) from firewater! :-)

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

@Shra: LOL πŸ˜€

Posted by fwd079 | Report as abusive

They should’ve worn their gum goots!!



Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

They used the wrong kind of wood and coal? I was not aware that there was a type of wood and coal that doesn’t cause owies when set ablaze and walked on.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Reading through recent FAA regulations, it is my understanding that you are required to have a ‘walking across hot coals’ certificate in order to apply to become an official aircraft witch-doctorer, OR be able to keep Lindsay Lohan away from booze for a period of not less than 30 consecutive days.
Personally if you were able to achieve the second of those, you could probably qualify as ‘miracle worker’, instead of witch doctor.

Posted by zeitgeist | Report as abusive

Mr.Pilot… there isnt…
He was just trying to be Mr.Smarty Pants….
But I am sure they got to the bottom of the matter…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Italian real estate staff injured in ‘motivational’ firewalk…

He stated the hotel near Rome where the exercise was held used the wrong kind of wood and some artificial coal without him knowing.”I have done this job for 12 years with thousands of people and never had a problem. I myself walked first on that bed o…

Posted by Froxter.com | Report as abusive

Zeit, I believe success in the second of your points is both physically and chemically impossible. So… bottoms up!

Posted by justM | Report as abusive

Where’s Forrest Gump when you need him?
I can just hear my mother’s voice: “If your friends walked across burning coals and burned themselves horribly, would you too?”
I know nine people that would answer ‘yes’.

Posted by AllThatJazz | Report as abusive

Perhaps it would be worth getting taken to the burn unit for the chance to sue the company out of existence and retire early.

Posted by DisgustedReader | Report as abusive

Ha ha Jazz.. good one! :)

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

It#s probably better for you than sitting on some dinky chair and surfing thrrough the rubbish bin known as the Internet. I have known many people who have done this, it is, however, a ceremony of sorts and interestingly, it has nothing to do with “motivation”. That is the real BS here. I was told it had to do with the clarity of thoughts and intent. What the author calls “instinct” is correct. If you are clear about your no, you will not do it. If you are clear about your yes, you will. Of the 20 or so people I have met who have walked the coals, only one suffered minor burns and actually said right after, he wasn’t sure….

Yes, for some people, searching for meaning, for clarity, etc… means going in odd directions. For others, life’s fulfillment is sitting at some dumbass computer and pointing and giggling at others.

Posted by Talleyrand | Report as abusive

Very well said, Talleyrand.
Hey Lamar, come here and see what this guy wrote…. Tee hee…..

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Ah, the zapper would never get a moment’s peace… now would she?
Alright then, just as well, get this over with….

Oh wait… yes, Lamar? Oh.. I see… Ah, well, more than happy for you to have your go… does seem more within your area of justice! πŸ˜€

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Hey Talleyrand my computer is not a dumbass, it is very knowledgeable and well behaved!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

I am afraid, dear Talleyrand, that you have failed to accurately assess your audience and this blog. We do not merely point and giggle at “others.” We point and giggle at dumbasses.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Tally, this is the odd direction I choose to go to find some humor in life.

Um, what was it you used to send the email, and how ever did you find the blog? Tally ho!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

NINE were burned? Okay, I can see one or two, if somebody messed up with the type of coals, but if you’ve just seen eight — eight! — of your colleagues flopping around on the ground, screaming about their feet, don’t you think that would give some *clue* that something was seriously wrong? I hope the ninth person does not have any children. There are some genes that should not be passed on.

Posted by montanamorse | Report as abusive

That’s a very good point, Montana. The same thing occurred to me. Surely there’s a cut-off number where you’d say, “well, that’s 116 straight colleagues with third degree burns on their feet, so I’m going to act like I need to go to the bathroom….

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Really what are your legal options in a case where your employer enticed you in to a cooperate hot foot? Aside from the immediate treatment with “fire-water” available at any bar. The lawyers Bar association in most likely going to tell you that you are SOL for monetary compensation.
“I did it (was coerced) out of the fear of getting fired!” Well gee,,,”getting fired literally is what they got.” will the a fore mentioned victims of their own stupidity even qualify for workman’s compensation insurance, since they took that last step of their own free will?”
Odds are this isn’t the sort of thing which would entice future firms to employ you if it were to show on your resume, or on a screen of your previous medical treatment/ bills for same. All puns aside, I feel sorry for those folks. At age 13 I accidentally stepped on a piece of steel that had been used as a poker in a large fire and left on the ground. Second and third degree burns (or being lashed on your feet as a form of court ordered punishment) is no laughing matter. Any parent who has stepped on their child,s leggo at 3am should understand the sensitivity of that region.

Posted by alexofalabama | Report as abusive

Lemmings 2-9 remind me of a true story. I went to high school with a guy named Ed. In welding class, he picked up, barehanded, a red-hot piece of metal he had just welded and screamed in agony. Five minutes later, he did the same thing. About five minutes after that, he did it a third time.

One of my first cousins married him.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Sir Alex of Alabama… you make a fair point… I would think stepping over any pointy thingy at 3 a.m would be a painful experience…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Plugs ! Plugs underfoot at three am…

Doc, I can top that; a vague acquaintance of mine lost the end of his finger wiping swarf off a lathe without gloves on. They sewed it back on, all good, he went back to work a happy man. A few weeks later, the Health and Safety Inspector came round and asked him to show how the accident happened. Cue one more trip to the local A+E…

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

What is swarf? What is a lathe? What exactly entails wiping a swarf off a lathe without gloves on?

If I wasnt against educating on this blog, those are questions I would have asked….

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Shra, swarf, also known as turnings, chips, or filings, are shavings and chippings of metal β€” the debris or waste resulting from metalworking operations.

I only mention this because I am in an undisclosed location and cannot be tased at the moment…

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

And a lathe is a spinny thing for making bits of metal into different shaped bits of metal. Swarf is very sharp. Wiping it out of the little ledges on your lathe with your bare hands would be a very stupid move indeed. Doing it a second time and losing the same finger again puts you in Darwin Award territory…

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

This Thing Called You…

Thanks for the entry, I’ve sent you a trackback to my blog! :-)…

Posted by Consciousness and Spirituality | Report as abusive

Well, this probably isn’t an opportunity to confess personal stupidity and thereby be shriven, but … Years ago, I was using electric hedge trimmers at dusk, when I accidentally cut the power cord (110 volt). Very nice little light show of sparks. Thanks, I feel better now.

Posted by krudlox | Report as abusive

[…] But above all, my readers are savvy climbers in the world of business, hungry for advice on how to handle those team-building corporate retreats. […]

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