Ben Cook

Graduating the Graduate Program

 18 months, 6 placements, 6 fresh-faced graduate trainees, one incredible journey!

With placement locations spanning the globe, high-profile projects reporting into senior management and relocating and taking on new projects every 3 months, the TUI Specialist & Activity Sector Graduate Leadership Program has been quite a journey! To mark the end of the 2011-2013 graduate intake, we have put together a video montage using a selection of photos taken over the course of our graduate program. Though this can only begin to document both the exhilarating, and often surreal highs, alongside the arduous, self-questioning challenges of the graduate program, we hope you will enjoy this snippet of our TUI journey so far… And now as we move into new roles within the company (and wave a teary goodbye to Laura) we thank you for your support over the past 18 months and for the opportunities the TUI SAS Graduate Leadership Program has given us. 

 

You can access our Graduate Program Video Montage here!

 

2011-2013 TUI SAS Graduate Intake

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Categories: Ben Cook, Ben Gill, Deborah, Jennifer, Kelly, Laura | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Revealing Employee Motivation

Ben’s been taking a theoretical approach to his new project…

Let’s get started
I’ve been given the unenviable task of devising a new pay, bonus and incentive structure for Specialist Holidays Group’s multichannel distribution department. The aim of the task is to improve customer service, increase colleague collaboration, reduce interchannel competition and increase profits across a department of 400+ people.

Questioning things
Since being given the project, I’ve spoken to a number of managers and team leaders across our brands (American Holidays, Austravel, Citalia, Crystal, Flexible Flights, Hayes & Jarvis, Jetsave, Meon Villas, and Sovereign), and channels (Call centre, Online, Trade). As I’ve engaged in these conversations and grappled with intensely detailed incentive schemes, a number of questions have arisen that, even when answered, lead to more questions:

  • How are people incentivised now?
  • Who should be incentivised? Everyone?
  • What behaviours are we trying to encourage?
  • What behaviours can we incentivise?
  • What behaviours exist already?
  • What motivations underpin these behaviours?
  • How can we change salary, bonuses and pay to channel motivations that deliver desirable behaviours?

I need to be motivated
I started to think about what motivates people on a very basic level. At first I considered Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as an indicator of motivation, taking it for granted that people would be motivated by need to take action. The basic needs of Air, Food, Water, etc. would cause people to take action, but there were a few problems with this idea. Firstly, urgent needs tend to distort normal behaviours. Two thirsty men in the desert may fight to the death over a bottle of water, even though they had no history of competition in the past. A man may decide to rob a bank in an attempt to secure the financial future of his family, even though in circumstances where his family are financially comfortable, he is not intrinsically motivated by achieving high levels of wealth. I felt that I couldn’t rely on any test of need as an indicator of motivation, because needs distort motivation.

Enjoyment
I changed tack and began considering what activities all people undertake just for the sake of the activity, and what activities I undertake. What do I spend hours doing which involves a high level of engagement, but I get paid nothing for. Essentially, what do I enjoy doing?

Geek speak
Back when I was a teenager I had something of an addiction to playing Age of Empires II. Beating computer controlled players was satisfying enough, but when I could play online to compete with real people, I found that smashing their cities and killing their villagers was even more satisfying. At Uni my housemates accused me of being obsessed with PES. It started off with me buying the game and we all played together, but then I started playing on my own and beating my housemates all the time. They refused to play me anymore, and I lost interest in playing on my own. When I was a teacher and an exam period came around, I could think of nothing better than trying to conquer Europe in Medieval II: Total War. The best part to me wasn’t the struggle to dominate the map, but the real-time battles where you mentally and physically had to outmanoeuvre and rout your opponent. There’s nothing quite like seeing a once formidable army fleeing your wake.

I now try to avoid these games as much as possible, but it led me to start thinking that everyone plays games; I know you are thinking you don’t, but I’m including all games and sports, from Angry Birds to Soccer to Hide & Seek to Scrabble. Everyone has played a game, and everyone enjoys different kinds of games, which is when I stumbled across Richard Bartle‘s Test of Gamer Psychology

Gamer Types
Bartle is a writer, professor and game researcher who was involved in the very beginnings of virtual worlds involving multiple players. In a 1996 paper, Bartle split players of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) into four types:

  • Killers – Thriving on competition with other players
  • Achievers – Preferring to gain “points,” levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding
  • Socializers – Playing games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself
  • Explorers – Preferring to discover areas, create maps and learning about hidden places

There’s even a test to discover which type you are developed by Erwin Andreasen and Brandon Downey. This was an interesting tangent from trying to develop a real life incentive scheme for real life people. Or was it tangent? Could it be fundamental to the entire project? I kept reading and stumbled across an update of Bartle’s gamer types, written by Jon Radoff.

Gamer Motivations
Radoff, an entrepreneur, author and game designer, sets out two axis against which gamers could be measured, dividing their motivations into four quadrants, roughly equivalent to Bartle’s Gamer types:

Four Quadrants of Player Motivations

Four Quadrants of Player Motivations

  • Competition: player involvement where individuals complete over scarce resources, comparison, and win/loss situations; incorporates Bartle’s ‘Killers’
  • Achievement: sense of progress, mastery of skills and knowledge, etc, incorporates Bartle’s ‘Achievers’
  • Cooperation: player involvement in activities where they are helping each other, through creativity, shared adversity, etc, incorporates Bartle’s ‘Socializers’
  • Immersion: stories, roleplaying, exploration, imagination, and a sense of connectedness to the world of the game, incorporates Bartle’s ‘Explorers’.

Geeks are people too
It used to be that games were played by particular groups of people, stereotyped as greasy haired teenage boys who didn’t have anything better to with their time. The games that they played tapped into the the things that motivated them intrinsically in ways that real life couldn’t.  Those driven by competition were playing against friends and AI, attempting to get another victory, while those driven by cooperation were playing for the pay-off of interacting with others, victory being less important. Achievers were seeking to better themselves,  setting records and completing tasks, while Explorers were immersing themselves in virtual worlds, exploring new worlds and testing out every scenario.

These different names have been used to classify gamers, and help them know what they enjoy most out of their gaming experiences. But more and more people play games in their daily lives through Facebook and smartphones. Words With Friends, Farmville, Angry Birds, Temple Run, Draw Something, Wii Sports and Rock Band are all positively mainstream. So when we break gamers down into four distinct types, are we actually breaking people into four types? The more I thought about it, even social media seemed to be an illustration of the four motivations in action. Facebook seemed to tick at least three boxes, providing an immersive social environment where you get to show off to your friends about how great your life is, to the point where people are almost addicted and lying about how much fun they’re having. Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, in fact, all social media that we take part in has us working for free because they are means to reach the ends we desire; I want to have the best life, I want to have the life I want, I want to live my life with everyone, I want to live everything.

Based on these thoughts I have come to believe that, with a little adjustment, the gamer types be used to discover workplace motivation.

Hold your horses, Dan Pink has spoken
I like to watch TED talks and RSA talks on the internet. They feed my brain over breakfast, and satisfy my desire to seek constant enlightenment. A few months ago I watched a video of Dan Pink talk at TED about motivation, and key parts of his talk stuck with me to influence the way I viewed the world. This was further reinforced by reading The Social Animal by New York Times columnist David Brooks, and another talk by Pink at the RSA. The biggest idea I took away from these talks (and a few scientific studies I blew my brains out with) was that material incentives are detrimental to the completion of complex tasks. This was mind-altering to me but delightfully simple. Almost any kind of activity that requires creative thinking, which includes almost any non-repetitive activity, is hindered by the prospect of material reward. But this includes sales, doesn’t it?

A knee-jerk reaction to this idea in our sales centre would be to remove incentives and bonuses and pay a higher basic salary. That’s a knee-jerk reaction because we have hired a lot of people who are motivated by money, and some have worked here for many years being paid for performance and consistently performing for that reason. We, as an employer, have a transactional relationship with many of our employees, a relationship that is amplified the better the employee is – we’ve hired for that drive and we’ve fed that drive, but what’s behind that drive?

Pink’s 3 Motivating Factors
In his book Drive, Dan Pink writes about 3 factors leading to better performance and personal satisfaction:

  • Autonomy: The desire to be self-directed
  • Mastery: The urge to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose: The urge to do what we do in service to something larger than ourselves

According to Pink, these three factors are important to everyone as long as money is not an issue. We want autonomy to define our own lives and do what we want to do, which actually makes a lot of sense until I start thinking about our sales centre and that the phones have to be manned 9 til 9. Most of our sales staff, even if given autonomy, would choose to continue working; if they are on the phone, they are making more money. What if they weren’t making more money and money wasn’t an issue? What would they do then? Would they do something they wanted to do, or something they needed to do?

Mastery is an interesting idea, and Pink has expressed it in two different ways. The “urge to get better at stuff” and the “urge to get better at something that matters” are actually different ideas, hinging on the word “matters”. What matters to me doesn’t matter to you and may not matter to the company I work for. Some people want to be better at playing guitar, some people want to be better at making friends, some people want to be better at holding their drink, and some people don’t really care about getting better at all – they just want to try everything.

Every company worth its salt these days has a transcendent purpose. Here at TUI we have the TUI Spirit, with the Vision “Making travel experiences special”, which is easy for me to engage with. I can also understand how people might not engage with it, in which case they probably shouldn’t be working for the company. My point is that having a purpose for a company is a great idea, but you cannot motivate everyone with a single purpose. I doubt that a double-glazing company could have any transcendent purpose which could motivate me, though I keep an open mind.

I’m not writing these 3 factors off, on the contrary, I think that they are highly valuable for looking at how to motivate staff. What I do think is that staff are highly variable in how they react to autonomy, mastery and purpose, and my assertion is that they react in accordance with the end they wish to achieve through an activity.

The Four Ends of Activity
I’ve adapted Bartle’s gamer types and Randall’s gamer motivations to the workplace to devise four primary ends:

  • Command
  • Collaboration
  • Achievement
  • Enlightenment

I propose that all people, if given the choice, are motivated to pursue the above, that they derive pleasure from all activities they undertake according to the ends that deliver the biggest psychological payload. These four are sought by individuals as ends in themselves.

For example, some people derive great pleasure from proving themselves better than their peers, installing themselves in leadership positions, and enjoying the prestige of winning. In every area of their life they are chasing to beat the next person in front of them, and play to win. They may be competing materially with their peers, keeping up with the proverbial Jones’s, by chasing a bigger house and a better car, and as a result may be money-driven. Their motivation is Command.

Some people have their own goals and targets, deriving pleasure from smashing those targets, achieving higher levels in life for the sake of the Achievement end. Their personal goals may or may not be material, and for this reason achievers may be money-driven (often more acutely than those motivated by Command), and they will continue to set goals, even when their lives have become comfortable. They’ll climb mountains to prove to themselves they can do it.

Some people derive pleasure from interacting with others, always seeking out people whether they know them or not; every interaction has the potential to be a rewarding experience. For those motivated by Collaboration, they do not care whether they win or lose, but they do care if they get to be with you. Collaborators enjoy work as long as there’s discussion, feedback, and everyone’s involved. They will be money-driven as long as it sustains (and doesn’t interfere with) their social lives , and if surrounded by money-driven commanders and achievers they will join in to have more in common with those around them.

Some people are always working things out, exploring ideas and forming theories about how the world works. They derive great pleasure from a new discovery, and get a mental pay off at moments of Enlightenment. They can get caught up in ideas and be fanatical about an activity, as long as it continues to deliver new discoveries. Seekers of enlightenment can be difficult to motivate and will even find themselves difficult to motivate – if a project does not involve them furthering their own understanding of the world, they can find it boring or mundane. 

The 2 Axes
As in Randall’s Gamer motivations, I plotted the Ends on 2 axes: People vs Environment (i.e. the world around) and Act Upon vs Interact With.

The Four Ends plotted on their axes.

The Four Ends of Activity

People who enjoy Acting Upon People are Commanders, deriving pleasure from winning and leadership as an end in itself. This is not to say that those motivated by Collaboration, Enlightenment or Achievement can’t be leaders, but holding a leadership position isn’t an end in itself to those 3 types. Collaborators are motivated to Interact With People,  Seekers (of Enlightenment) are motivated to Interact With their Environment, immersing themselves in it and testing out hypotheses, and Achievers are driven to Act Upon the Environment, stamping their name on it by reaching goals.

But I am none of those
I have been working on a test to discover which Ends are sought through activity, based on the original gamer type test (though it has become far removed from that at this point). As I have been testing this out on people, no one has been 100% anything, which is to be expected. Everyone is a complex individual who may be motivated to pursue multiple ends.

I’ll use myself as an example. Last time I took the test I came out as:
72% Enlightenment
62% Command
42% Achievement
22% Collaboration

I am motivated by all four ends, but to different extents.

My primary End is Enlightenment, which probably comes as no surprise to those who know me. I was on the phone to my mother, explaining the four Ends, and she immediately picked out Enlightenment as mine. I am motivated by massive, novel projects that I can become completely immersed in and passionate about, such as this one. My brain doles out a huge dopamine hit when I make a new discovery or solve a problem or apply a theory and it works, to the point where I blush and my hair stands on end. It’s practically an out of body experience.

I am also motivated by command. I always want to win. I was travelling with a friend recently, playing scrabble on her Kindle, and she became more and more infuriated that I would not let her win. Considering I have a score of 22% for collaboration and 62% for command, that’s no surprise; there’s far more pay-off for me if I win than if I cooperate. When I was studying Chinese, in order to motivate myself, I couldn’t depend on getting much thrill from simply achieving a high level of Chinese. In my first semester I picked someone in my class with a comparable level of Chinese that I could compete with, and I won, which was deeply satisfying. I got the added bonus of scoring higher than any other westerner in the grade, which probably gave me too much of a pay-off.

Means vs Ends
If you give people Autonomy you give them the means to seek whatever ends they want. If you give people the opportunity to exercise Mastery, they will seek to master something that they want. If you give them Purpose, you better make sure it’s a purpose that they can engage with (otherwise it’s no more than hot air).

But if you know what they want, if you know they derive satisfaction from collaborating, seeking, achieving or commanding, or any combination of those, you can deploy your employees according to what delivers them the greatest satisfaction. The best relationship you can have with your employees is to have their pursuit of happiness align with your business need.

I’ll update you next time on how I am attempting to apply the Four Ends of Activity.

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SPORTsportSPORTsportSPORTsportSPORT

My placement with the Official UEFA EURO 2012 Accommodation Agency finished just over a month ago to positive reviews after doing a lot of work with spreadsheets and internet booking portals. I’ve been given the privilege of being given three sports placements in a row, and this second sport placement is with Danish company Travel Sense A/S.

Having just come from a placement solely concerned with the EURO 2012 tournament, I’ve stepped into a placement where all talk is of the next big event… the EURO 2012 tournament, no change there then. But I did get given my official Dansk Boldspil Union shirt today, just in case I’m needed in Kharkiv or Lviv to represent my adopted home, or, y’know, help with Travel Sense guests. No one expects Denmark to win the tournament (their odds are comparable with the Republic of Ireland) but no one expected them to win the tournament in 1992. The Danes might have known. Anyway, I’ll be watching their form closely when I attend the Denmark v Australia match in my new Danish shirt this Saturday.

Football is the most popular sport in Denmark and there are a number of big clubs in Copenhagen, some which you may have heard of, none of which you can pronounce correctly (unless you have knowledge of how the Danes use letters). Travel Sense sponsor a number of clubs in Denmark and I was lucky enough to attend one of the penultimate matches of the season where Brøndby hosted FC Nordsjælland. The title was unfortunately out of reach for Brøndby this season, but FC Nordsjælland were just 2 points behind FC København, the big fish in Danish football.

Brøndby fans hate FC København. HATE them. FC Nordsjælland hate FC København too. So for the entire game, the two sets of fans sang the same song to one another: Vi hader F.C.K.! (We hate F.C.K.). That was funny enough but when FC Nordsjælland, the AWAY team scored, everyone in the stadium clapped and cheered! And when the scoreboard showed that FCK had lost, there was uproar – all FC Nordsjæalland needed to do was win the final game and they would be the first Danish team to have an automatic place in the Champions’ League.

Which, of course, they did

There's a hand on the pitch!

Goal mouth scramble at Brøndby

It’s important for me to know these things, I’m not just here to hang out. I’ve been putting together a fact base about the sports travel company I’m placed with which will be informing strategy for the next financial year. But there’s no way I’m going to discuss the intricacies of the data I’ve been working with, or mention the nightmare that is building graphs and pivot tables in the Danish version of Excel… sorteringsindstillinger means sorting options, I know that much. Right, I’m off to eat kangaroo and crocodile at an Australian restaurant a few streets away. Thanks Australian tourism bureau!

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Maths in Manchester

Benjamin fills us in on his number-crunching North-West placement…

There is nothing I like more than staring at maps. Unfortunately, during this placement I spend more of my time staring at maths. My project on this placement with Thomson Sport’s Official UEFA Euro 2012™ Accommodation Agency focuses on devising strategies to generate revenue from benefits in our supplier contracts. When I write ‘devising’, read ‘building’; when I write strategies, read ‘spreadsheets’.

My Workstation

My Workstation: calculator, Excel, mathematical workings, contract benefit list, model contract...

I’m now very familiar with the IF function, and now know how to use FLOOR, which is a bizarre name for rounding down to the nearest specified number. The advantage of these weird functions is that there’s a lot of money to be saved for the Accommodation Agency if I get the calculations right.

Manchester’s nice, the team is welcoming and friendly, and I only live a short drive from the Didsbury based office, in a southern suburb called Withington. My current housemates are two professionals, both called John, one who works in banking, the other in English teaching. I’ve been watching the numbers here too, inflicting a Lent diet on myself which involves abstaining from meat (fish is okay) and chocolate, swimming regularly, as well as counting the calories generally (“you’re turning into a girl”, says English teaching John – I have been gaining an insight into why choosing food is so difficult when you are considering price, calorific value, meat content…). Lent ends on my birthday, and my sister has promised me a meat platter to mark the occasion. Now it’s on the internet, she has to honour her promise!

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8 hours ahead, yesterday.

Benjamin is suffering from quantum leap syndrome

How do you quickly work out the time in Seattle when strolling the streets of Beijing? Just think of Seattle as eight hours ahead, yesterday.

I’ve been travelling a lot recently because of the holiday season and work, and by travelling I mean flying. I love statistics, and playing with statistics in my head helps me sleep at night; I know, that’s kind of weird, but sleep is kind of difficult in economy class for 11½ hours in constant daylight.

Daylight over Alaska

Between December 21st and January 13th, I boarded 7 flights, covered a distance of 17,665 miles in 36½ hours of flight. I landed in 4 different time zones (Pacific Time, Mountain Time, Eastern Time, Beijing Time), lost a Monday almost entirely, and gained an extra Friday the 13th!

It can get confusing running on three time zones. When I was in New York for New Year, I called my sister at 5am London time because I forgot that the time difference between London and New York is three hours less than London and Seattle. While in Beijing, my confusion was compounded by waking up having to be someone different for my three day task, Quantum Leap style.

On Saturday, I’ll be making the leap back to the UK and “normality” again (the leap home). From the previous trips to China, I know that the trip east is harder than the trip west. With a trip west you gain time and end up accidentally waking up early, while heading east you lose it and can’t sleep. With a week of goodbye lunches, dinners and drinks mapped out here, and a Learning and Development week starting 19 hours after I land in the UK, I don’t expect to sleep much this side of Valentine’s Day.

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Closer to the Edge

Ben brings us his December update from Seattle

Time is speeding up on this placement, and everything is happening at once. Yesterday I delivered the most important presentation of my placement so far to senior members of TCS & Starquest and the TUI Specialist and Activity Sector, and it was very well-received. Immediately after that I was told that I had to apply for a visa for a trip to Asia in January and I had to get it ASAP. I spent the afternoon rushing around Seattle gathering up materials and my passport, and FedExing it all to Washington D.C. I can’t remember the last time I was more than 100 miles from my passport, let alone 2,700 miles from it. And I have to have it back before the 21st because I’m flying to Idaho!

It’ll be fine, I’m sure. Right?

Right.

For the last month and a half or so I’ve been in Seattle for most of the time, apart from a weekend in rainy Portland.  But for the next month and a half or so, I’ll hardly be in Seattle at all, mixing in up in Boise for Christmas, then back to Seattle for less than 24 hours before flying out to New York for New Year! Flights are booked, hotel booked, friends contacted… just need that passport back in my hand and I’m good to go. I’ll be back in Seattle for just six days after my return from New York before heading out to fulfill the purpose of the aforementioned visa.

Standing in the shadow of Little Si

Standing on a cliff in the shadow of Little Si

I’ve taken up running again. I’ve been forced into it as a way to keep off the pounds that inevitably pile up in this country (hey, I’m English, I usually live on triangular sandwiches and tea). I ran a 6 mile circuit around my suburb last Saturday, the last two miles of which followed one long hill from sea level to an elevation of 350m. It was nice to feel the post run glow again. The next day I force-marched my Chinese housemate up a (small) mountain called Little Si. He moaned all the way up, and grabbed a stick to support his buckling legs. At one point he said to me, “Ben, you are fat, why are you find this more easy than me? [sic]” Tact isn’t his strong suit, in case you hadn’t realised. The hike wouldn’t have been the same without him though, after all, who could I have asked to take pictures of me if he wasn’t there?

I think I’ll be decorating a Christmas tree this weekend with my Line Manager and her family. That’ll keep my my mind off the possibility of my passport being lost in one of the 9 States between here and D.C.

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The view from here…

Seattle from the Columbia Center

Seattle from the Columbia Center

Benjamin explains why he’s sleeping well in Seattle…

I was on the phone last week with Jennifer Johnson, TUI Specialist and Activity resourcing and graduate advisor, saying that I felt a little bashful about broadcasting my placement. She reassured me that it would be beneficial for everyone to know how well my placement was going.

Way back in July, we were given the opportunity to express preferences for our placements in terms of location, division (Marine, PEAK, North American Specialist, Sport, SHG, Sector or Education), and project. We were advised that at least two people would have to be placed in North America from October until January, including the Christmas period. I immediately emailed back, humbly saying that I would make the sacrifice of suffering a North American Christmas (in Florida, please).

In August I got a call. It was Jennifer. She said, “How would you feel about working at TCS & Starquest in Seattle? You’ve been picked out for a specific project there.”

*Gulp*

TCS & Starquest is the most profitable brand (per customer) in the North American Specialist Division, and one of the most profitable brands in the entire Sector. They create amazing private jet experiences that literally circumnavigate the globe and they offer sky high levels of customer service.

Getting the Seattle placement certainly made submitting my notice to my boss easier. I’d been dallying over telling him as I was unsure how he would react (think chairs out of windows and coffee mugs through computer monitors). I should explain that I had been acting as ‘Personal Assistant’ to the Managing Director of a small student recruitment company, placing foreign students in UK universities, but what that really meant was streamlining his entire company from top to bottom, from the branding on the door, to the way our consultants picked up the phone. I wrote policy for his entire company, translated the contracts, and hired the staff. Imagine if your right hand came to you and said, “sorry, I’m leaving.”

But sitting him down, after a little discussion about some unrelated HR issues, I said, “So I have to tell you, I’ve been offered a new position. It’s in Seattle.”
Instead of throwing a wild fit, he simply said, “Where?”

After explaining it to him in his native language (he’s not English), and telling him how amazing this opportunity was, he calmly accepted and we discussed how we could best use my last month (and oh my, we really used it).

Skip forward 45 days and I’m stepping off a plane on a rainy afternoon in Seattle, passport in hand, feeling like I’d been awake since the dawn of time. I spent an hour in passport control because the US embassy in London hadn’t written an expiry date on my American visa, but aside from that, things were moving very smoothly. In baggage claim I was met by Karen Ledwin, Business Development manager at TCS & Starquest,  who had very nicely offered to drive me from the airport to where I was going to live in West Seattle.

For a house that I found on Craigslist, I feel I have a very good deal. I live with a High school teacher and her daughter who put up foreign students (and me) full board. I never cook for myself, and there’s always beer in the fridge. And coke.
And Orange Juice. And Half n half. The house sits atop the beautiful West Seattle peninsula which has forest walks and beaches, and is a snappy 30 minute commute to work by bus – faster than driving and more connected than many other suburbs. I have a free unlimited bus pass from TCS & Starquest, and that includes almost all public transport in the city (like the ferry!).

TCS & Starquest don’t mess around when it comes to looking after their staff. I feel like I am rather quickly being fattened up by the constant stream of food in supply. I have been taken out to lunch on a regular basis to some of the best restaurants in town where they try to kill you with amazing food. When I’m not out eating, or being stuffed at home, food invades the office for birthdays and other celebrations, today I suffered through 6 slices of American style pizza, and…

EVERY FRIDAY AT 4 IS HAPPY HOUR!

IN THE OFFICE!

The boys are down 3-2 in the ongoing Tippy Cup competition against the girls. That is all I shall mention about Happy Hour. Apart from that  it’s nearly happy hour.

Aside from this I’ve been up the second tallest building on the West Coast, been in the largest building in the world by volume, and will be spending Christmas in the only place in the world that six-pointed star garnets can be found.

What about my project? I’m going to have to tell you another day. Here’s a picture of me at my desk on the 14th floor instead. When it’s a clear day, you can see the Olympic Mountains.
Ben Cook Seattle

At my desk in Seattle

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