Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day Three: You Learn Something Every Day

Day Three was yesterday, I'm late, sorry. Been kinda busy.

Okay, so yesterday we started off with a motivational speaker/trainer. I liked her better than last year's, and I definitely liked her WAY better than Mr. Wave My Hand in Front of Your Face Oh Look You're Inexplicably Weakened Now I Can Push Your Arm Down for No Readily Apparent Purpose (who, based on a couple of quick interactions with him on the phone when he called for my boss and he assumed I was "just" the secretary, is also a prick) but let's face it, a motivational speaker is a motivational speaker.

There are four types of people in the world, and if you're one of these, you may have learned to ACT like another one some of the time, but you are by nature and in your comfort zone one of these only:

A Director: Speaks in nouns and action verbs. Makes decisions and gets things done. Focused on the ends.

A Socializer: All about the good times, a dreamer, dynamic, vain, self-centered, fun, talkative.

A Relater: Cares about peace and harmony above all else, will do whatever it takes to negotiate a happy balance among others.

A Thinker: Analytical and detail-oriented, goes nuts if things are out of place or don't go according to plan.

Naturally, the problem with putting people in boxes (even if you do remember to poke plenty of air holes) is that they don't necessarily fit into just one - though, when questioned on it, the speaker insisted everyone does. There are four of us here in my group, as it happens, and a couple of the others eagerly seized on the notion that, hey, we've got one of each! A Director (my overall boss, whom I'd classify as a Socializer, if I had to pick), a Thinker (my immediate boss - good enough, but she's nowhere near as inflexible or as uncomfortable with shifting situations as the speaker was saying), a Socializer (me) and a Relater (our section admin). I tried explaining that I'm actually very shy, but nobody would believe me.

Ah well, it'll all blow over.

After that we were back on the bus for tours, as well as our group photo. Have you ever organized a group photo of 90 people? I bet you think it can't be done within 20 minutes. Well, I did it. (I guess maybe the photographer helped.) I was down there with the group screaming at everyone to divide up by height and maneuver everyone into position (the PA system on my bus doesn't work, so I've done a lot of screaming the last few days) and damned if we didn't get that shot done and everyone on their way back to the buses in 10 minutes flat.

I rock.

We also have to do a big cheer for our bus (the green bus again!) and last night, after all the touring was done, I actually had everybody up to my room to practice. This didn't look suspicious at all. First I had to run down to the hospitality suite, where one of our sponsors poured me a glass of wine. "Here," he told me, "this is a really nice red, give this a try.

"Oh thank you," I said as my glass was filled, "I have to go take care of something. Excuse me." On my way out I caught Kevin, the photographer, who's on my bus but was taking care of other duties during our tours this afternoon, so he didn't know about our rehearsal plans. "Hey, could you come with me for a bit? I need help with something," I told him, and led him off to my room.

Hotel rooms are not all that big, it turns out, when you get twenty excited, giggling people into them. We practiced our cheer several times, occasionally shushing each other lest someone from one of the other, lesser buses might be next door. They must not hear it yet. They must not know how badly their little blue and yellow butts are going to get kicked later today.

And then my phone rang. General panic ensued, but everyone shushed down into subsided giggling and I answered it calmly. "Hello?"

"Oh, hi, Elizabeth," said an unfamiliar man's voice, "Is Kevin in your room by any chance?"

Uh-oh. "Um," I said. "I don't, um. Who's calling, please?"

It was someone I don't know, an industry person in town for the conference. I put my hand over the mouthpiece and gazed frantically at Kevin. "It's [so-and-so]," I whispered, "what do I do?"

"I know him, I know what he needs," said Kevin, "I'll talk to him." So I handed over the phone.

That's my old reputation over and done with, and a whole new one just starting out. Hopefully I can 'splain everything tomorrow after our big debut.

Although when you get down to it, why should I care? I'm a Socializer!

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