The year was 1998. I was working as a lowly receptionist, lazing away my days at the front desk of a bustling digital ad agency.
Our company had just bought three other web design firms, full of employees not very happy to have been purchased.
To smooth feathers, calm fears and bond us together, our owner decided to take us all to a posh resort on Captiva Island. All 200 of us. For four days.
Even then, I thought it was insane.
Still I wasn’t complaining. Instead, I was buying bikinis, packing sunscreen, and jumping up and down with glee. And honestly? I was waiting for them to come to their senses and realize they didn’t need to drag the receptionist along.
But they never did, and before I knew it, I was on a plane, Florida-bound.
The resort was something out of a movie, full of lush tropical gardens, private villas, and, of course, heart stoppingly beautiful beaches.
I believe we attended some seminars. Did some “trust building” exercises. But that’s not what I remember.
I remember bobbing in the waves under an impossibly blue sky, giggling as I watched my peers cavort drunkenly on the beach.
I remember sitting beneath the canopy of a big white tent, watching the sun set through the palm trees, butter dripping down my chin as I feasted on the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet.
I remember swimming in the moonlit ocean, gazing about me in wonder as the water around me glowed with the light of millions of tiny phytoplankton.
I remember wondering how this could possibly be my life, and when I was going to wake up.
And thinking that if this was what the working world was like, they could go ahead and sign me up for a lifetime sentence.
Now, of course, I know better.
That was not reality.
It was a moment of collective insanity, fueled by ridiculous amounts of cash given to impossibly young CEOs in an economic environment no one really understood.
But it was awesome.
And I feel damn lucky to have been part of it.