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If you're reading this, odds are you hate your job. You know it, everyone within earshot of your whining knows it and, most of all, your boss knows it.

As a result, companies are constantly coming up with ridiculous schemes to try and motivate their employees to at least pretend that they care about their job. Next time you find yourself humiliated by having to chant company slogans in the name of team building, just keep in mind, it could be worse. Much worse.

A Waterboarded Employee is a Motivated Employee

Let's just cut to the chase here: Prosper, Inc. fucking waterboarded one of their own workers. Call us crazy, but this seems like a horrible way to get your employees fired up to come to work. But then again, we're not motivational technique specialists, and they are.

Joshua Christopherson, the manager who organized the waterboarding, told his staff that they should work as hard as employee Chad Hudgens was when he was trying to breathe. Christ, couldn't they have just made the IT department take the stairs instead of the elevator and achieve the same results?

We plan on strangling high costs, just like I'm strangling Chet here.

Now, for those of you who aren't entirely clear what waterboarding is, it's torturing a person by temporarily drowning them. It involves being placed on an inclined surface, with water being poured through a cloth over your mouth and nose and, if you have seen Christopher Hitchens from Vanity Fair being waterboarded, a seemingly never ending track of symphonic rock.

How did that turn out for them?

If you haven't figured it out already, Christopherson was a total dick. Aside from occasionally employing the enhanced interrogation approach to team building and motivation, he also used a variety of other methods; including pulling chairs out from underneath people and drawing fake mustaches on employees' faces.

Artist's depiction.

Suffice to say, before Christopherson could even consider getting his employees to form naked human pyramids, the waterboarded employee decided, "fuck this shit" and sued the company for damages.

On the other hand, it's worth noting that several of his co-workers worked together to hold Hudgens down during the waterboarding, and if that isn't a fine example of team-work, then, dammit, we don't know what is.

Say what you will about Agent Smith, but the man ran a tight ship.

"Welcome aboard! Now walk across hot coals!"

According to sales people, a career in sales is not some kind of pansy job for the weak. Nobody believes this more than Eagle Star. That's why they decided that there was but one proper way to welcome sales trainees to the company: They made them walk over hot coals.

Of course, walking across hot coals isn't as hardcore as it sounds. It's already been picked up by a number of motivational and team-building groups and, as one such group puts it, it dispels that "deep-seated belief that fire will harm you." Because anyone who believes that fire isn't cute and cuddly, is clearly retarded.

Awwwww. It's so precious.

It's unclear how the skills learned from these sessions were supposed to translate into an office setting. Well, unless the sales floor at Eagle Star is run by twelve year old's who insist employees jump from one piece of furniture to another while yelling, "The carpet is lava!" Then it makes perfect sense.

How did that turn out for them?

Astoundingly, the combination of bare feet and fiery hot rocks did not end well. For some reason, the hot coals they were walking across were so hot that seven of the 10 staff members needed to be sent to hospital, two of whom needed to be sent to a hospital that specializes in burns. Given fire's aforementioned total inability to injure steel-willed sales reps, Eagle Star must have felt like they were dodging a bullet as the clearly unfit employees were rushed off in an ambulance.

Probably the same way these brats are chargrilled to perfection.

On the plus side, the fact that seven were injured instead of, say, just one proves that the employees were so motivated that they kept on running across the coals even after others had been burned.

Or perhaps they conga lined across?

This and the way the fellow employees assisted with the waterboarding above says something profound about people's tendency to mindlessly follow orders in the workplace. Not that Eagle Star's mangled employees can be blamed for repeated stupidity. The adorable kitten on their cubicle poster was very clear about what they were supposed to do if they didn't at first succeed at something.

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The Ultimate Employee Motivation Battle Royale

Motivating your employees is not a matter of fun and games. Except when it is, of course. But even then, it's only fun until someone loses an eye and/or is beaten with signs bearing the name of their rival companies.

That's exactly what happened at Alarm One. In an effort to inspire the troops, they had them beat each other with signs. Not as punishment for losing the game, mind you. No, that was the game. Beatings.

As for those who lost at this contest of barbarianism, they were forced to wear diapers, eat baby food, had pies thrown at them and were called abusive names. Basically, they were forced to actually do what most of us only feel like we're doing at work everyday.


How did that turn out for them?

Alarm One was eventually taken to court. An employee won a judgment against the company for the humiliation and pain she suffered, but that verdict was later overturned because Alarm One was harassing all of its employees equally.

A lesson David Letterman should consider.

As one attorney put it, "the court has taken the position that if men and women are harassed the same way, then it's OK." Sometimes, this stuff just writes itself.

Ericsson Stages a Kidnapping

Ericsson, the telecommunications company from Sweden, decided that in addition to computer skills, communication skills and a working knowledge of the telecommunications industry, it would be aces if their sales team also had some armed kidnapping preparation skills under their belt.

Can you hear me now?

Like setting an entire building on fire to teach your staff fire safety, they decided the best way to teach their staff how to behave under the pressure of a kidnapping was to actually kidnap a staff member on a team-building bus trip to Athens. To be fair, the kidnappers, the kidnapped staff member and the bus driver were all in on the plan. However, the rest of the 25 staff members were not.

Most of the staff had likely been expecting obstacle courses, sing-alongs or any other team-building exercise that usually results in the entire team hating each other more than they already did. Instead, they were greeted with armed, masked men who boarded the bus, waved shotguns around and took one of their fellow colleagues hostage.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

For all they knew, Bjorn from accounts receivable was well on his way to sleep deprivation and forceable fingernail removal.

How did that turn out for them?

If there's one thing Ericsson executives should have thought about in advance, it's that with the exception of most areas of Detroit, two armed motivational speakers taking over a bus on a highway is bound to get the attention of passing motorists. One of those motorists decided to call the police.

We're not sure how things work in Sweden, but the police in Greece kind of had this thing against kidnapping, possibly because of the fact that three people in that past year had died during hostage situations. So it's fair to say that when they turned up, rifles out, ready to blow some bus bandit shit up, they were more than a little pissed off to find that they had stumbled across a "team building" exercise.

Not pictured: a team player.

Ericsson ended up apologizing by saying it was "regrettable" (that's executive speak for "we fucked up, but we also have a ton of cash, so fuck you"), and the entire sales team had to spend some time in custody. Now let's go sell some motherfucking Ericsson phones, everyone!

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Cheuvreux Employees Reenact Borat, Inaccurately

On the list of movies a company might use to motivate their employees, one would assume that a mockumentary about an anti-Semite with a penchant for public masturbation would be right near the bottom of the list. For the record, First Blood and Busty Cops occupy the top two spots on that list.

But the people in charge at Cheuvreux, a bank in England, clearly don't think like the rest of us. When it came time to motivate their employees, somehow, re-enacting the movie Borat was deemed the most plausible way to make it happen. Very nice!

How did that turn out for them?

Employees were invited to attend a team bonding event in Monaco where they participated in the usual team bonding activities until they were told to dress up for the production of an advertisement for the bank's services. They were probably expecting some typical corporate nightmare like this...

So imagine the employees' surprise when they were told to dress up in a variety of costumes, including one sexy bunny outfit, to represent "Borat's bitch." You remember all of those bunnies in Borat, right? And his harem? Have they not seen this fucking movie before, or was the whole thing just a framing device to act out some creepy old dude's sexual fantasy?

"Here's an illustration of what I'm looking for. Note the donkey and the Smuckers."

We should probably ask Rosemarie Corscadden, the one who wound up in the bunny costume and who has since sued organizer Jerry Lees for sexual harassment. Really, the company probably should have seen it coming, since Lees once referred to the company as a brothel. We checked. It's not.


The Bosnia-Herzegovina Soccer Team Gays Their Way to Victory

Here's a quandary for you: How do you provide additional motivation to a group of men that already consist of some of the strongest, fittest, most motivated males in Europe? Congratulatory slaps on the ass? Group showers? Nay. These are men. Real men. In situations like this, you have to pull out the big guns. You're going to have to ask them to kiss.


In what could have been a sex offense had he been coaching a junior team, Bosnia-Herzegovina Coach Miroslav Ciro Blazevic decided that there needed to be more love and cooperation amongst his team, and nothing says "cooperation" like non-consensual make out sessions. In his very own words "I take two of my players and tell them, 'Love him! Kiss him!' and he kisses him."

Oh, Europe. You're so charmingly gay!

You're like Neil Patrick Harris.

How did that turn out for them?

According to Blazevic, the unity of his team is the secret to its success, and the secret to that unity is hot man-on-man action. Don't get us wrong, we're all for sticking with a winning formula, obviously, but we doubt our office make out sessions play any role in our success. **Editor's note: please remove references to our office make out sessions before this goes live**


It's like saying your favorite football team is winning because of the secret handshake the players use, or the towel whippings they participate in, or the drunken, blind-folded sex they occasionally have in the showers. It's as preposterous as it is sexy.

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For more business idiocy, check out 6 Emails You Get When Your Company Is About to Go Under and The 6 Most Disastrous Uses of Work Email Ever.

And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 12.04.2009) to see how totally straight we are.

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