Kicking with Mickey: Company Kickoff 2018 at Disneyland
Thursday: Let’s go!
Munich Airport, Terminal 2. A rather lanky security guard stabs his finger at my cheap deodorant (house brand of a large German drugstore chain, I found it smells sufficiently good) with disapproving eyes.
“We have to dispose of that!” he commands. I wonder briefly if perchance he does not like the fragrance. Then I remember: Airport security is afraid of liquids. I forgot about that. I should fly more often.
Immediately I feel safer again. That’s good: after all, I am on my way to the annual kick-off of the largest (and best) independent security service provider in Europe. The management has decided something epic is appropriate. That’s why more than five hundred SecureLink employees from across Europe are making a rendezvous at Disneyland Paris.
Everything works smoothly and ninety minutes later, the machine breaks through the cloud cover and I see the sun for the first time this week. I should really fly more often.
Unfortunately we have to get down to landing again. Paris in the spring. Sounds nice, but in reality it has room for improvement. At least today it does. Nevertheless, we will not have it spoil the mood. Not even when we arrive at the conference hotel to wait for yet another security check. The hotel itself has a maritime New England flair that I find overwhelmingly beautiful.
The first official item is a “Welcome Mingle”, to which beer, wine and soft drinks are served. The first unofficial item happens to be immediately before that, as I saw the German and (not surprisingly) the English colleagues in the cozy hotel bar and spontaneously decide to join. Beer, wine and soft drinks are also served. I have a really tasty cider and a rustic baguette before I plunge into the crowd to hug my colleagues from the marketing departments throughout (Northern) Europe. It’s really amazing how family-like the event looks, although most people meet face to face for the first time.
Friday: Full schedule
Friday starts in the very early morning, when the world’s best roommate sneaks in like a ninja, drops into bed and falls asleep instantly. A few hours later I go to breakfast and eagerly await the kick-off of the official part of the kick-off.
We are greeted with a laser show which is kind of overwhelming, content-wise as well as technically. Apparently, we seek world domination. Why not. Our management would certainly be better qualified than the great Donald is.
The little Donald (and also Mickey Mouse) linger around on our Powerpoint slides now and again. In between, we learn that our vision is to make Europe and later the whole world cybernetically safe. An ambitious goal, but now and here it actually seems feasible.
The mood during the presentations is lightened by the little fun-films from individual countries. I am anxiously waiting for our film to come around. After all, more than forty-five cubes have agreed to sing in front of the camera. Incredible. The spectators are sufficiently impressed. My Belgian neighbor grins, bangs me in the side and mumbles “That was you singing there, right?” Then the unicorn comes into the picture, and there is no stopping. At the very least we have made a point about the German Spass (™).
Another highlight is the presentation by photographer Jimmy Nelson. He turns out to be a somewhat nervous guy who spends a lot of time photographing indigenous people. The lecture is interesting for sure, if not for security.
In the country session, we finally learn why the management (especially my favorite CEO) is in such a good mood: we did a really good job last year. A nice debut for our inclusion in the SecureLink family. With that we can cheerfully look forward to changing from iT-CUBE to SecureLink Germany!
Even though some of us will stay Cubes at heart.
After the somehow mandatory tour of the souvenir shop we end up back in the hotel bar (where I meet, among other things, the English again, I’m not surprised again). Really nice colleagues to chat (and laugh) with. I realize that we are perfectly filling the gap between the Dutch and the Swedes in the bar. I think we’ll be damn good Linkers when the time comes.
Evening: Party on, Dude!
With this good news in the back of our minds we’re off to Disneyland (after another thorough security check, of course). We have exclusive access to three attractions: the “Find the Fish in the Swirl Turtle Coaster”, the, we shall call it “Aerosmith Rocket Rocker” and the “Horror Hotel belly twister“. The latter is a Free Fall Tower from the Twilight Zone. They’re all pretty cool, and it’s very nice not to have to wait in line.
After we are thoroughly shaken (maybe I should fly more often) we proceed to dinner. Small, delicious buffet appetizers in a movie studio atmosphere. I enjoy. Thoroughly.
At first I wonder why there is no seating. Then the DJ starts to rock and I realize what this leads to. So we join the rocking, under an X-Wing and a Tie Fighter (both full size!) and waving with light sticks until late at night we stagger in the general direction of the hotel (without further security control, what went wrong there?). What a splendid day.
After finding the right bus, we head home. Of course the highlight is again the flight over the clouds, which again allows me to enjoy a little sun on my face. I should really fly more often.
Generally speaking we are now an international corporation. The times of the free, owner-managed small business are over. For good? Corporation: that sounds so anonymous, like office cubicle without contact to the next department. But it is not like that at all. The SecureLinkers are no longer a faceless crowd for me after this weekend. Somehow the company only became real to me now. And having had the pleasure of talking to many of our new colleagues, I can say one thing very clearly: are all human beings too.
But every single person I met could easily work with us, right in our team as well. They could be part of our company, And that’s worth a lot. Because – technically – they already are.
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