Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'd Rather Give You Fresh Silverware Than a Fresh TPS Report Cover.

A few days ago, I worked for the special events team at a breakfast meeting that occurred in the cavernous event space below the restaurant. Although I only earned half of the $200 that was hinted at, the work was so easy and the shift so short (a mere 4 hours) that I really can't complain.

My duties:
Before Guests Arrive:
-Set up a full coffee and tea service on the buffet table
-Bring glassware downstairs from the bar and silverware from the restaurant
(Side-note: Carrying 30 glasses is hard and heavy. By far the most challenging part of the day. Barbacks and porters, I have a newfound respect.)
-Using a trolley, load up the eats assembled by the pastry team and then set them up on the buffet table

Once Guests Arrive:
-Stay out of the way
-Every 15 minutes, walk through the room, bus dirty plates, throw away any trash left lying around, make buffet look pretty
-Refill coffee, restock coffee cups as needed
-When not bussing, sit at the coat check desk folding napkins and making roll-ups to replenish the restaurant's stock which we pilfered to do this event

The event itself was some sort of media branding thing. At the head of the long meeting table was a woman with a laptop controlling the never-ending series of flow-charts up on the projection screen at the front of the room. The guests didn't know each other, as they introduced themselves with painfully awkward anecdotes. For example,

Suit #5: I'm Bob, and I got kicked out of Penn. Find me afterward for that story.
Twitters of laughter from the crowd.

I still have no idea what the meeting was really about or what it aimed to accomplish. Neither did some of its guests apparently, as there were people staring off into space, mindlessly picking at their fresh croissants and getting crumbs everywhere. I did overhear some tasty morsels of corporate hot air, the likes of which I've never encountered from someone not quoting Office Space.

Suit #18: I am wondering if Empathy could be a viable model.
Leader Woman : I mean, it depends on how you structure it. But yes, I think it could.
Underemployed tries not to laugh out loud as she restocks coffee cups in perfect rows.

About 2 hours later, while making another pass through the room, I was fortunate to hear yet another insightful, incisive bit of business magic.

Suit #30: Well, when we were working, we were really focused on the How. Passionate about it. But when we went to the clients, what they really cared about was the Why. And we didn't have an answer. And that taught me something.
Underemployed tries not to laugh out loud as she carries an armful of dirty plates out of the room.

Suit #30, it taught me something too. I'd rather be on my side of the meeting table. Hands down, I'd rather work at the restaurant.

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