The best laid plans…

21 Dec

Have a way of changing. Everyone seems to have those days where anything and everything seems to go wrong. For me, that was Thursday – before my work day started, I’d already had an argument with someone I love, then at work my computer froze four times prompting me to reboot it each time, and my email crashed three times while I was trying to draft the next weeks staff e-newsletter. To top it off, a project I had worked hard on had been passed onto another employee for what I took to mean I had done a poor job because I received an email saying something like “here are my edits, let me know if you have any questions.” – That happens to me a lot now, how can I learn to be better if I can’t fix my own projects?

For one of my coworkers, her bad day happened on Friday. Did you hear the news that I work for a university now? Well on Friday we were putting all the finishing touches on Convocation for our graduates of the fall semester. She had been working hard for a couple months on a program, submitting a t-shirt design, ordering yellow flowers to hand out to each graduate and checking off a million other small details on her checklist. On Friday, all of that planning went out the window…

After the 800 programs had been printed, folded and assembled with cords, a credential error was found after one of the speakers names on the inside page. Half a dozen of us found ourselves removing the wrong inside page and reinserting the correct page for a few hours. The t-shirts arrived, all 100 of them, shortly before lunch and they still needed to be sorted by size, rolled so the school logo was showing, tied with a blue ribbon and marked with a graduates name sticker. Luckily, many hands make light work and that at least went quickly enough.

After lunch, the bucket of yellow flowers arrived. It’s a good thing she ordered extra because those poor, pitiful things – some where missing heads, some were missing stems. In the end, we had just enough nice looking ones to tie a blue ribbon around!

That’s when I was next sent on an internet wild goose chase hunting down live, red poinsettias that had no glitter, sparkles or anything extra added. I needed five bouquets and luckily found them not far from the university. I was given the college card, told how to use it, and then my manager and coworker joked asking if I had their cell numbers so they could bail me out of supermarket jail. They humor wasn’t appreciated when I was in the store purchasing said flowers as the cashier entered the information wrong and the tax wasn’t removed. She had to have the office correct the mistake, which at first delayed me by 10 minutes and then caused me to have to sign my life away, including my license number on the corrected copies of the receipts.

Once over at the hall, the bad times kept pushing forward….the student ambassadors never showed up, which meant we found ourselves organizing pin boxes and t-shirts into alphabetical order and then running to start checking graduates in. Talk about chaotic – people everywhere! Thank goodness for my time at Disney; I felt totally in charge providing instructions, directions and answering the same five questions over and over. I was even Disney pointing as I showed guests the stairs or the elevator that would take them upstairs and the graduates the room behind me where they were to assemble in alphabetical order to walk into the ceremony.

Five minutes until showtime and our first speaker decides to finally make his appearance, I thought for sure the event planner was going to pass out from stress wondering where he could be.

By this time I am in my seat with my laptop, I was responsible for live tweeting quotes from the speeches, and using a tripod and camera to record my angle of the ceremony as B roll for a highlights video. One of the faculty members stands up at the podium to welcome everyone and she can’t be heard in the audience. I was sitting four rows back and found myself straining to hear her words. Enter the tech guys who attempted multiple times to adjust the volume on the microphone.

Thank goodness I had copies of the speeches to follow as I was waiting to tweet. I had scheduled out 8 – 10 tweets earlier at work so all I would have to do was hit the “Send Now” button. As I read along with the first speaker, he said tweet number one and then went rogue halfway through the speech meaning I couldn’t use what I had previously scheduled. Luckily, the keynote speaker hit all of her quotes for Twitter.

Just when it seemed like the rest of the evening was going to go off without anymore hiccups, it was time for the graduates to recite the class pledge. The only problem was the pledge was printed on the back of the evenings program, and they didn’t have programs at their seats. So a few hustled moments later, the pledge was said, congratulations were given and everyone was released.

All in all, I would call the evening a success. No one stumbled going up the stairs, no one tripped or fell while walking across the stage, everyone seemed to be present and accounted for. It even snowed a little bit, our first snow since November.

So I have officially survived my first event at my new job….now to do the same thing over again in the spring, and then next fall. I can see how this could get repetitive quickly.


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