Published: April 22nd 2012April 15th 2012
In case you don't realize why I'm here, I'm here for a week-long management training program called 'Take Off!'. 12 of us from various EC centers were selected to come - EC Central, Malta, Boston, Toronto, New York, London, and USA (me!). Throughout the week we received training on various performance-related skills and were split into two teams to develop a project and present it to members of the board. Our team's project was to find a way to target EC's staff, students, agents, in communicating our 4 core values. I'm not a fan of more abstract tasks like this, but in the end our team one and it was a fairly well-thought-out proposal. It nonetheless caused major stress.
The program itself consisted of interactive lectures on things like self-awareness, unlocking creativity, time management, etc. The most interesting were the results of a “personality test” – despite what seemed like completely random and irrelevant, not to mention contradictory questions, the several-page assessment was surprisingly accurate. During the rest of the time, we got to work together on our projects. There was definitely a fair bit of group drama, but in the end all came together well enough, with my
group “winning” with a total score significantly higher than that of the other team.
Our hotel, the George, is located in St. Julian's, where EC Malta and EC Central are also (more specifically in the Paceville area). St. Julian's is described by guidebooks as "cosmopolitan", but to me it's much more a crazy mix of hotels, shops, restaurants, language schools. As one of our Sales Team members said, you need to qualify most statements by adding "...for Malta" to them. Oh well. Paceville, the psychotic going out area, is, as previously mentioned, fairly trashy, but obviously a good time. The hotel rooms are probably the nicest I've ever stayed in alone - giant king bed, balcony, big bathroom, seating area, etc. Nice work EC!
We spent every day from 9-5 with our Take Off colleagues. Breakfast was at the hotel, so we typically got there by 8:30 to have enough time to stuff our faces. It was a pretty good spread – assorted pastries, coldcuts, beans and toast, hard-boiled eggs, bacon and sausage, assorted juices, tea and coffee, etc. I tended to stick with the antipasti-type things to ensure I was bloated all day long – Maltese sausages
Eggs, Potatoes, Maltese Sausage, & Anchovies
with sun dried tomato and Gozitan cheese on toast, then a small croissant and these amazing cookie-type things with a slightly lemony marzipan filling. Lunch was a hodgepodge of finger-foods, from fried and breaded prawns to wontons to smoked salmon sandwiches. Most things were delicious, but as the majority of things were either deep fried or in some sort of pastry, so again, not the healthiest. The dessert trays didn’t help either…nor did the cookie trays during our morning and afternoon coffee breaks.
In the evenings we had either dinner free or dinner with the group. The first night with Andrea we got Maltese pizzas - mine had potatoes, maltese sausage, olives, and hard-boiled eggs. I added anchovies just for fun. The "group dinners" were at a sushi place, then at a more Mediterranean-type place where I had amazing smoked kipper soup followed by a hake filet in a caper-y sauce with roasted potatoes and vegetables. The other nights were a bit hit or miss; we had a kosher-only eater and a vegetarian, which really were fine, but then another extremely picky eater that made things difficult at times. I did my best to keep a smile on my
face :-) The One night was a Croatian-run Italian place where I split grilled prawns and swordfish. Another, in Valletta, was where I got to feast upon traditional dishes of rabbit livers (like chicken livers but a little less iron-y) and rabbit cooked in garlic and white win (the national dish). Both were outstanding washed down with a nice Maltese red blend. Another notable meal was at the restaurant owned by the husband of one of my colleagues - we arrived to complementary prosecco on the patio overlooking Ballutta Bay and later had complementary Maltese limoncello. For my meal I really had a taste for pasta and got gnocchi with mussels all drowning in white truffle butter.
The only really note-worthy thing the rest of the week was our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity. We all headed to this organization that helps disabled people and basically got dirty dragging sh*t around and throwing out tiles, old toilets, doors, etc. while dodging cockroaches. Fun!
Evenings were otherwise lowkey - sipping Cisk (the local beer) tallboys on our balconies, going out to smoke hookah in Paceville, or just hanging around. While we weren't doing the same work as we're all
accustomed to back home, it was still exhausting. This didn't stop me from going to bed at around 2am every night - jetlag? stress? Not quite sure what that was about.
There are more photos below