My bad week at work.

I had done very poorly on one of my calls and was very nervous about how my supervisor would react when he found out. He keeps track of how well the agents do on their tech support calls and gives them a hard time if they don’t perform up to his expectations. I feared it was my turn to face his wrath this time.

My supervisor did find out about the call I did poorly on and walked up to me at my cubicle. I got very nervous but before I knew it, he had returned to his desk after having left a small piece of paper on my desk. Nervously I glanced at it.

It was a plane ticket to Nowei, China.

I was very confused but at the same time I was relieved he didn’t yell at me for the entire call room to hear. That would have been very humiliating.

I showed the plane ticket to one of my co-workers and he was terrified. “You’re going to Nowei?” he gasped in horror. “I-”

He stopped speaking and quickly returned to work when my supervisor came back to my cubicle.

“You’re flying to Nowei tomorrow morning and you will be back at work next Monday,” he said, “so when you get home, just pack your stuff for your week in China, then report to the airport in the morning. You may be confused about this now but it will all make sense very soon. Now get back to work.”

I finished my shift with a mood of nervousness and uncertainty. Why was I flying to China for a week?

That night I packed my suitcase and the next morning I drove to the airport to board the first of several flights to take me to Nowei, China where I finally realized the purpose of my trip.

In Nowei is a monastery in a remote Chinese village with a huge building in the middle of the village. Inside the building is a 2,000 pound gong suspended from a tall, wooden arch with a bamboo chair positioned a few feet away. I was taken inside this building where the monks had me sit down in the chair. I was very confused about why I was taken this far from home but in a few minutes it would all become painfully clear.

The gong began to lift away from me as a team of 5 elephants at the other side of the room began to pull on ropes tied to the gong. Higher and higher it went until it stopped at a near 45-degree angle above the floor. It was like this for a few minutes until I heard chopping noises as monks with axes began to chop at the ropes that had pulled on the gong. Suddenly the gong swung forward and smacked me right in the face before knocking me to the floor.

As I laid on the floor stunned, it all made sense.

My boss was so upset with me that he sent me to China to be smacked in the face by a 2,000 pound gong.

Really, it doesn’t get more humiliating than that.

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