"You need others to move forward"
Friday, September 4th 2020
I have an exhibition stand and a banner measuring 10 by 10 meters in the back of my car, 4 bunches of flowers, 3 trophies, a helium tank, balloons with gold and confetti ... Theater Aan de Slinger in Houten is my destination. I park at the artist's entrance, behind a van and an old beige Chrysler Voyager. Did it have a towbar? Not paying attention.
Inside, there are already a few colleagues dressed in black or tuxedos, our dress code for today. Well, dress code… only if you feel comfortable in it, and black would be nice. The exhibition stand is being set up at a rapid pace, the photographer is now also inside and is marking a combined light and corona walking plan on the floor with red tape. Gradually the colleagues trickle in, a (black) colorful group.
Alternative outdoor event
Today we organized an alternative for our yearly outdoor event. We have postponed our original plan - for the second time - because of our concerns about how corona-proof that program would be. The goal is for everyone to feel comfortable and safe, and so we have put together a whole new program in two weeks. That definitely gave some pressure, but we managed it.
After coffee and shooting the portraits of all the attending colleagues, we are allowed to enter the theater hall. Everyone has their own table and plenty of space has been left between all the tables. Our own Michiel appears on the podium and sits on his racing bike. He drives a virtual ride from Amstelveen, via Eemnes to Amersfoort. Meanwhile he is taking us on a journey through the past six months. Everything is reviewed: the corona measures, the joint day starts that we have organized to maintain contact, but also the achievements we have delivered, the new colleagues since March and the fact that we are fortunately still completely corona-free.
This is followed by the performance Trekhaak gezocht (translated as ‘Towbar wanted’), with which Tjerk Ridder has regularly performed on stage for 10 years. In 2010 he made a journey with just a caravan and a dachshund, without a car (!), from Utrecht to Istanbul. He eventually arrived in Istanbul via 10 countries and 53 different lifts. Full of energy he tells - as if it were yesterday - about his encounters along the way. His songs are about life's questions you encounter when you are going to undertake such an exciting project: can you take the plunge? (the answer is of course yes!); how important are your origins? (very important). His story is full of recognizable concerns, hesitations and aha-Erlebnissen for everyone, but those personal experiences also turn out to be metaphorical for the growing pains of our company. An enriching experience, and Tjerk's question and answer game, first with the audience and then with Rob on stage, adds some extra depth.
After a nice lunch we continue for our four-weekly demo. Four demonstrations of recently finished projects will be presented by colleagues. All presentations, just like the theater performance, can be followed remotely via Zoom, for colleagues who prefer not to move in large groups because of Covid19, but also for our colleagues in Romania.
Rob and Michiel close the afternoon with a real prize ceremony! The playful day starts that have been pulled out of the hat by the various teams in recent weeks do not go unnoticed. And that is why the Michiel Winthagen Trophy was created, honouring the many day starts that Michiel has already "chaired". The trophy is awarded in triplicate, in different categories, and there is even a bonus category. Finally, we all receive the book Trekhaak gezocht, based on the performance by Tjerk. A drink to conclude, and then I think that we have created a really meaningful alternative to our planned outdoor event in a short time. Thank you colleagues!
Photos: Ditta van Gent photography