The Octopus of Events

I tweeted earlier tonight that I really thought event planning was like an octopus. It seems like a strange comparison, but frankly, it’s the first thing that popped into my mind when trying to describe what I’ve been trying to wrangle in my new job.

Now, don’t read me entirely wrong – I do love my job and the prospect of planning an enjoyable field trip is challenging, yet rewarding.  However,  I’m so NEW it’s almost comical in the way I try to plan things. “Rose-coloured glasses”  seem like a street thug compared to how naive I have been in attempting to organize.

This post is also somewhat ironic, considering I’ve been following the BIT16 posts and I can’t imagine the enormous amount of planning that must be involved in such a large event. My little woes are on such a smaller scale, but they are big and new to me, so I’m indulging my inability to drive the event highway.

Guess what? I can’t just pick an event and send out information. HA! Who does that? There is no such thing as getting 1 permission. Independent woman Eva who is capable of making decisions no longer exists when planning an event. “Would it be possible to” Eva is born.

This is NOT to say I’ve hit negative roadblocks. Quite the contrary, I’ve been very fortunate to have supportive people willing to pursue my ideas. However, getting schedules to align has to be one of the harder things to accomplish in my short time trying to plan events.

I’m trying to find the best common denominator with 12 secondary schools in two counties. The school day/bells are close, but have some overlaps. They have different school events in terms of  sports, assemblies, trips, visitors. Travel time from one zone to another can be up to an hour in length. This makes it challenging to find a day and time that works for most. I won’t even attempt to write “all” because you truly can’t please everyone!  Add in promotion, posts, permission forms, money collection, confirmation calls, invoices, cheques, budgets, and if I throw in more than one department to work together, then all those octopus arms are moving around at once!

Just when I think I’ve made progress in one area, something else jiggles loose. A lesson I’m learning is to really be collaborative. People are willing to work with you and when you are doing things for the benefit of students, positive results will be the outcome. I guess it’s just been hard for me to learn to be more patient and allow for people to help in the fashion in which they are able. Just because I may want to complete a task at a different speed or time frame, doesn’t always make it the best way. Or the most inclusive way.

I’m also learning that changes have to be made and that the first decision is just that, the first. There will be a list of changes that happen and I have to learn to let go and realize that updates will have to be made. And sometimes disappointment is inevitable. There may be cancellations out of my control. There may be times when I’ve planned everything to be the best of my ability and it will still be cancelled. I have to remember not every glitch will be seen as a poor reflection of me or my effort in planning. It’s hard to swallow, but I’m slowly realizing these facts.

In the meantime, I will try to hold my head high, and learn to embrace the “Would It Be Possible To…” Eva in the best way I can. I am learning to be more assertive and ask those uncomfortable (for me) questions. The octopus doesn’t have to be threatening, just busy. It will still have all those moving parts, but I will learn to anticipate them better! And soon enough, it will seem more like the one in Finding Nemo than a science fiction nightmare.


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