Saturday: Celebrated a friend’s birthday by going to a winery (I don’t really drink wine), then out for a sushi dinner (I don’t eat seafood). I make it sound horrible, but actually I had a really fun time. Got to catch up with a couple friends from college who I haven’t seen in a while, and met some new people. And I had chicken for dinner, plus some vegetable sushi (the sweet potato roll at this place was amazing!). While I stayed up watching SNL, I caught up with my regular work from the previous week that I let slide while preparing for our event.
Sunday: Did laundry, turned on my work computer around 1 PM, ended up staying online until after 8 PM, when we had a meeting to prepare for our global, multi-site learning event this week. I’d been told they might need me to send out a communication after the meeting, but then they changed their minds, so I went to bed.
Monday: Day 1 of our event started off with some problems. The online system that most people needed to use to complete most of their training seemed to be struggling under the weight of 10,000 people around the world trying to do the same thing at the same time. And guess who manages the e-mail box where people write in with their questions regarding this event? Me. So all my other work was put aside as I struggled to keep up with the neverending stream of angry e-mails. We also had to take some time out to do a walk-through of our site, because live events were running there Tuesday and Wednesday.
Because we all ate Asian foods last week, including over the weekend, we decided to make this week Mexican/Italian week. But a 6 PM meeting threw a wrench in our plans of all going out together. I ended up going out to a local Mexican place with one of our visiting colleagues once I was able to leave work around 7 PM. Then I had to go home and get back online to send a mass e-mail update to our global audience.
Tuesday: This was the first of our two days of on-site activities, and I was facilitating a poster session – which meant I was in charge of setting up the area where the posters were hung, making sure the presenters were present and stationed with the correct posters, and then electronically checking in attendees. Luckily, I had some great helpers! We got the room set up just in time, then some angry attendees (angry because they still weren’t able to do the online component of their training) showed up, but guess what – the live session was a huge success! It went great! After cleaning up, I had about an hour-long break, then I was needed at an afternoon session to run the attendance table. That was a lot less work for me, luckily, and I was able to get through still more angry e-mails in our mailbox.
When the afternoon session was over, I went to sit in the “war room” where the rest of the behind-the-scenes team was stationed. This was cool because I got to silently sit in as the head of our group attended teleconferences with some other groups to determine the cause of our technology issues. By the end of those meetings, it seemed like they had determined a solution to the issue that wouldn’t require us to re-create (and re-test – remember how we spent the entire last week testing everything?!) all our training modules!
One of my coworkers talked our boss into canceling our 6 PM meeting, and instead five of us went out to Bahama Breeze for a fun and relaxing dinner – definitely needed after the way our week had gone so far!
Wednesday: The second and final day of on-site activities was much less stressful for me, personally, because I was facilitating two four-hour training sessions that pretty much ran themselves. The first session started at 8 AM, so I was in a little before 7 to make sure everything was ready before people started arriving. Once I had confirmed that the room was set up correctly and everyone had checked in, I just sat in the back of the room and worked and occasionally stepped out for meetings. The instructor was very good and even though I’d taken a 2-day version of this course last year, I feel like I picked up some things just by sitting in the same room and barely paying attention!
The second session ended at 5 PM, and then I headed back to the “war room” to see what was going on. I’d gotten a last-minute request to pull an e-mail distribution list sorted by region. “No problem,” I thought. Well, it was a little more effort than I’d expected, because in our system people’s locations are listed all different ways: the name of a country, a city, an office, etc. So I had to use my great knowledge of geography to categorize people into one of five global regions. It took a couple hours. When I left work, I went to Qdoba with one of our visiting coworkers, followed by a trip to a new frozen yogurt place nearby called Kiwi.
I got back online at home, where several of us chatted online as we quickly tested updated versions of the courses we’d tested last week. When everything was confirmed to be correct, I sent a message to my Asia/Pacific region distribution list at nearly midnight. They were going to be a pilot group to test our new online training set-up, and if everything went well, we could open it up to the rest of the world. So we let them have overnight to try it out.
Thursday: I got to spend the day sitting at my new desk – my first time really sitting there since I moved to it a week earlier! Once again I spent the day answering angry e-mails, but our fix seemed to have worked – after we announced the new plan to the organization, the number of e-mails we received dropped dramatically. I was able to catch up with my regular work and take care of some things. It was the last day on site for one of the consultants who’s been working with us for the past few months, so a couple of us went to dinner with her at Olive Garden to say goodbye. I actually got home at a semi-reasonable hour and saw GG briefly before I completely passed out. (Seriously – I know we were talking, and then I remember nothing after that!)
Friday: I spent the day sitting in a conference room with the rest of the team (or what was left of them), but it was definitely less stressful than last week’s conference room days. I was able to catch up on some more of my regular work, as well as helping them out with their work. I’d been joking all week with our last visiting coworker, who does not like most fruit, that I was going to make her a big, delicious fruit salad for her to try on her last day. And I did! She did give each fruit in it a try, and I respect her for that. We still haven’t turned her on to produce, though. She had to leave in the afternoon, and since we couldn’t take her out for dinner, we had a little lunch out at the soup restaurant across the street. We had one final meeting at 3 PM, and once that was finished and we were done with what we were working on, my last team member and I were outta there! I was home in time to get dinner with GG and run a couple errands before he had to go out.* Then I came home and just crashed again.
Hopefully over the weekend I can get all the sleep I need and get back on a regular schedule – because this type of crazy activity is pretty much officially over (until next year)!
* GG did some stand-up comedy at an open mic night. A woman gave him her number, which he thought meant she was interested in him. He called her on his way home, and it turned out… she wanted to “bring him to Jesus!” Because after hearing his act, she determined that he needed the help!