Bridge Builders

This week is Public Employee Recognition Week. To celebrate, our management gave us ice cream and cake on Tuesday. Another event was to have a bridge building contest. They had a wooden bridge about 4 feet wide and 20 feet long that you could assemble like blocks and the contest was to see which team of 4 could disassemble and reassemble the bridge in the shortest amount of time. When they sent the sign-up sheet around I was surprised nobody in our office was participating, but I wanted to do it and three other people in my group were willing to do it too. Yesterday we watched as they unloaded the pieces and started thinking about the fastest way to assemble the bridge (which some people thought was cheating), but the bridge was in a courtyard, so a lot of people could see it from the windows.

This morning we watched a few of the early teams try it out and got a couple of good ideas. We thought of some more stuff and drew up diagrams of where people should stand and what parts they would be responsible for. Given that we design bridges, the expectations were much higher for us than, say, our contract administration office. We showed up in hard hats and vests and our plan in mind. When the whistle blew we worked very fast and it was over in what seemed like no time. I was actually breathing hard from the exertion even though it had only taken about a minute. Our co-workers watching from the offices above held up signs with “10” on them like in the Olympics. After lunch they tabulated all of the scores and we were the only team out of about 10 that had broken the one minute barrier: 57 seconds. Each of the team members got a $25 gift card, t-shirt with our logo, mouse pad, and a couple of other trinkets.

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