Sunday, May 4, 2008

How to Survive Working at a Conference

I survived the two-day summit. My legs are incredibly sore because we were in the Convention Center that is HUGE and has industrial carpet directly on concrete. I basically did a “screw this” and wore my black jeans with a pair of hastily polished old black running shoes on day two and that helped a bit.

The preparation was hell – juggling printer time with other non-summit personnel who had their own work deadlines to meet, taking up all the conference rooms for our pre-summit meetings and bag stuffing assembly lines. I will research outsourcing options for printing next year.

After sleeping 9 hours, big dog decided that I needed to get up and I did – just long enough to give him his pill, feed both of the dogs their breakfast and biscuits. Then I went back to bed for three more hours. Paradise!

So now, you find me at the closest Whataburger having breakfast with an exceptionally grumpy future ex-husband who is working on his laptop, too. I am content with my tummy filled and good coffee at hand. There is no Wi-Fi here but that is fine. We can “make do” with offline work. Ha!

Tomorrow it is back to work. I have the back of my little truck filled with all the left over tote bags I have to schlep back to the basement storage area. The hubby has generously volunteered to help me but I haven’t decided if I’ll accept or just soldier on.

Lessons learned from this past week?
· Start with comfy shoes. I will go shopping for some new black running shoes to have on hand. Paired with black jeans and a dressy top and jewelry, no one noticed the dress code “violation.”
· Keep hydrated. I came home late at night and was so tired and thirsty (as well as in pain from the hips down) that I almost fell asleep drinking a glass of water and woke up constipated. Oops – too much info.
· Use the cell phone for communicating instead of running to locate the co-worker. The distances were so great and I was a fool to take off on foot when the vibrate feature on our phones works like a charm.
· Keep the registration area straightened up and as condensed as possible. Everything needs to be stored out of sight overnight and set up again easily in the morning. Plus, when the conference is over this makes the “getting out of Dodge” much faster and sorting things out at work the next week is easier as well.
· Keep your temporary staff happy. We had an overzealous convention staffer yank a beverage right out of the hand of our security guard. They felt it wasn’t proper for a guard to eat or drink on duty. I set the convention staff straight. Our guard was a person who needs to stay alert. This means keeping him hydrated and not hungry. Our guard was an incredibly courteous and chivalrous man who was not needed for security (the Convention Center required we employ one) but helped us relay messages and assisted our attendees with small matters.

All in all, it wasn’t so bad. It is back to routine tomorrow and for once that sounds enticing.