Author Topic: So...I've gotten myself kind of in a bad position...scientifically speaking.  (Read 428 times)

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Offline drwfishesman

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So in 2015, I volunteered at a local Science Festival. It was a great way to scratch that itch for science community activism. The next year, I was asked to serve on the working committee of the Festival and handled the survey and data collection aspects of the event. This year started out that way then one of the co-chairs got a great job out of state. So they ended up asking me to co-chair with a person that has done the event several years and they assured me that I would learn everything under this person. She just told me yesterday that she's leaving in three weeks to take another job. Holy shit, now what do I do? I have an event that is attended by over 10,000 people coming up in October and both people that ran it are gone leaving me in charge with no co-chair.


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Offline The Latinist

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Ouch.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Collect admission fees. Flee state. Change name to Chaz Bennington III. Profit.


In all seriousness though, that is insane. I wish I could offer advice beyond what I would do, which is bow out and blame the other two for bailing.  :laugh:
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Offline Halleyscomet/Wakefield

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So in 2015, I volunteered at a local Science Festival. It was a great way to scratch that itch for science community activism. The next year, I was asked to serve on the working committee of the Festival and handled the survey and data collection aspects of the event. This year started out that way then one of the co-chairs got a great job out of state. So they ended up asking me to co-chair with a person that has done the event several years and they assured me that I would learn everything under this person. She just told me yesterday that she's leaving in three weeks to take another job. Holy shit, now what do I do? I have an event that is attended by over 10,000 people coming up in October and both people that ran it are gone leaving me in charge with no co-chair.




I've got some friends on the boards for some of the New England sci-fi conventions. PM me some info about your event and I'll see if I can rally some relevant assistance, at least of an advisory variety for you.

Offline Redamare

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I would have had a Goddamned hissy fit when she told me she was leaving, and demanded she fix it or watch the whole thing go down in flames. Promises were made, and they are now being broken.
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Offline daniel1948

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Yeah. And you know that if you go ahead and try to organize this and stuff goes wrong because you have no experience, you'll take the heat and the blame.

Step down. Tell them they need an experienced person for the position. Then if you have confidence in that person, you can offer to co-chair as the apprentice you originally offered to be.
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Offline Henning

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Science is testing you.  :D
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Offline Billzbub

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she's leaving in three weeks to take another job

Meet with her several times in the next 3 weeks, and do as much as you can together for the event in that time.  She'll hopefully be able to transfer a lot of knowledge to you about the rest of the stuff you will have to do while you work.  Have her tell you about all the people she has to work with (get her "rolodex"), and ask her if you can e-mail her emergency questions after she leaves (where the hell did they put that recipe for ice water!?).

Offline HighPockets

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Well yeah, what he said. and then this is what I said, but I'm a slower typer.

My advice is delegate, delegate, delegate.

When you say you're the Co-Chair is that of the whole Kit and Kabootle or just one part of the festival? My wife took over a three day festival five years ago, with the only experience up to that point as being a participant, it was her coordination of the individual groups, that had the experience, that she counted on to get things done. If the co-chair that's abandoning you in three weeks has any kind of contact lists and past volunteers those are your boots on the ground. You just need to command them General.

I'll say that in our hard transition (and I say our, but my wife did all the work, she just told me what to do) to new leadership, we had to learn to do things differently to get things done, but in the end there was more positive feedback, then negative stick-in-the-muds that just said, "Why didn't you do it the way you always do it!"
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Offline teethering

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I think you've gotten some good advice here and hopefully some help also.

I'll say this, a lot of the time people underestimate how much they can accomplish in an unfamiliar set of circumstances.  Some of my best work happened when I felt very much out of my depth and had to rely on a lot of help to pull it off.  Because I was way out of my depth I thought that a) if I fail at least I'll learn a lot and b) these are the sorts of circumstances where asking for a lot of help is entirely understandable.  It eased the pressure somewhat, but of course you never want to let people down, so it's a lot of stress. But you might be surprised by how much things just work out sometimes because quite often people rise to the challenge.

The main thing is never be afraid to ask for more help than you think is polite and never get upset when you're turned down.  Right now the key to your success is having good relationships with people, so maintain a positive attitude and cut yourself and others a lot of slack.

I hope it'll turn out a good experience for you, but if not... at least it'll be a war story.

Offline drwfishesman

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Thanks for all the advice! This has helped immensely.


Here's the website for the festival (just brought on a webmaster for it and our facebook and twitter accounts)

http://www.irlsciencefest.org/

It needs some work and our social networking accounts need to be way more active.

I'm setting up a timeline with the person leaving so I can be sure everything needs to be done.

They are assigning a new co-chair, but she just had a baby 3 weeks ago, so I'm not sure how much I can expect yet.
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Offline estockly

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A big event like that can only work if there is an experienced staff. Rely on them. Sometimes the people at the top just get in the way.  Remember your first time running things is not the time to make big changes. Do it the same way as last time should be your mantra.


Your mileage may vary.
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Offline Halleyscomet/Wakefield

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A big event like that can only work if there is an experienced staff. Rely on them. Sometimes the people at the top just get in the way.  Remember your first time running things is not the time to make big changes. Do it the same way as last time should be your mantra.


Your mileage may vary.

The Arisia Sci-fi convention rotates out chairs. How well things go often depends on how good that year's chair is at getting out of the way of the experienced department heads.

 

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