Author Topic: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)  (Read 2967 times)

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BarensMom

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Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« on: August 26, 2013, 02:47:50 AM »
Sometime back I mentioned my "Sheraton Palace Story."  I think I have now recovered after almost 7 years to tell you all this sad tale:

Evil Oil Company decided to host a “symposium” and invite their clients from other oil companies.   It was decided to hold it at the Sheraton Palace, due to the fame of this particular hotel and its prime location in SF.  The symposium was to run from Monday-Thursday.  The business portion involved several presentations over the four days, with copies of the presentation printed in color and placed on each chair before hand.   The social aspect included a meet and greet cocktail hour at the Garden Court, daily continental breakfasts and lunches outside the meeting rooms, and dinners at various restaurants in the City for different groups of clients, culminating in formal dinners to be hosted by each member of the sales staff for their particular clients.  All of which I had to coordinate, arrange, reserve and cat-herd into being, because the Evil One (I’ve mentioned her before) couldn’t recover from her hangovers until late p.m.

I single-handedly worked my tail off for months, sending invitations, following up on those who didn’t RSVP, dealing with last-minute cancellation/additions both to presentations and guest list, transportation issues, talking to the hotel staff, etc.  During this time, Evil One was second-guessing, criticizing, blaming, and just in general being her half-drunken self.

During those four days, I was on my feet and on the go from 6 a.m. to midnight, flying between the meeting rooms, the business center, the concierge, and the catering office.  The nature of the job meant that I had to socialize with the clients, and with these clients, there was eating and DRINKING.  I had to drink with each and every one of those clients and keep a clear head (because someone had to pour them into the limo back to the hotel).  Evil One spent the entire time wasted and I saw very little of her during the day at the presentations.  I only had to deal with her at night and, as long as I kept her glass filled, she was happy.

On the plus side, I met several nice guys from all over the world.   The fellows from China, South Korea, Great Britain, Russia, and Finland were nice, even when drinking.  Several pledged their undying friendship as I was bear-leading them from the restaurant to the bar, then to another.   Each night ended at the bar across from the Palace with one group trying to drink the other under the table, then I would herd them across the street back to the hotel.  After that, they had to find their own room(s), "cause I wasn't going there.

Almost everyone, staff and client, deemed the symposium a success.

During the group meeting the next month, Evil One was honored with a certificate and a $500 cash award for “her excellent work in coordinating a successful symposium.”  Another lady who came in and assisted me during the event, but did NO pre-work and no client interaction, received $300 “for her excellent work assisting Evil One to coordinate symposium.”  I was mentioned last, and I received $150 because, “Oh, Barensmom helped too.”

That was the day I stopped taking my job and any of my co-workers seriously.  I quit EOC not too long after.

gmatoy

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 04:06:08 AM »
 I'm feeling this for you!  :o :(>:(  Wow! Just Wow!!

Ceallach

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 06:30:35 AM »
How on earth is it possible for them not to notice that you were doing all of the work and the others were doing none?   Surely you were talking / emailing / calling etc about arrangements and generally being the go to person?   I always find it so crazy.   I guess your coworkers were devoting their time to sucking up to the higher ups instead of working, somehow convincing people of their busy-ness by talking!
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


Cami

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 08:17:50 AM »
Barensmom, I'm so sorry. I'm an event planner and i feel your pain.

The reality is that when you've done your job right and the event goes smoothly, no one notices you. There is this interesting assumption that a good event runs itself and/or that the big cheese (who had nothing to do with it except cause problems) is the one who did all the hard work.

schnauzermom

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 09:52:03 AM »
So sorry to hear how you were treated >:(  evil Karen would love to know how the next event without you went >:D


Karen


Brock

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 10:58:59 AM »
 :o
 
So who exactly determined who the cash awards went to? Evil One? Or one of her minions? That's shocking.

BarensMom

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 12:44:59 PM »
I cut ties when I quit so I have no idea who Evil One dumped on to get the next one up and running, or even if there was another symposium. 

I later heard from my one friend that Evil One was caught using the executive staircase to come in very late and leave very early with one of her drinking buddies.  The management has changed (now female) since I left, so they're not cutting her the slack the men did.  New manager also has the support staff's back in dealing with her, unlike the men.

She was good at socializing and "the big picture," but bad on details and "couldn't be bothered" to interest herself in anything that she deemed "nuts and bolts."  Which was everything needed to get her "big picture" up and running.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 12:59:11 PM by BarensMom »

Shalamar

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 12:58:44 PM »
WOW. Good for you, getting out of that - it sounds toxic!

Reminds me of when I was working for Big Blue on a huge project.  I was one of two Quality Assurance Leaders, which basically meant that we wrote test cases and test scripts, then tested the applications like crazy.  We did a really good job, too - we found a lot of bugs, including some obscure ones, which were fixed in plenty of time.  The project came in under budget, and the client was thrilled. 

Shortly after the project was done, Boss sent out a memo about how happy the client was, and therefore there would be bonuses for everybody, from the project leader to the software developers.  Oh, but none for the QA Leaders.  Um ...

My fellow QA Leader and I went to Boss and demanded to know why we weren't getting bonuses.  He hummed and ha'd and basically said "Because you weren't all that important and didn't contribute much to the project's success."  Right.   The fact that, without our efforts, the system would've crashed and burned the first time the client tried to use it meant nothing, apparently.

We dug in our heels and refused to budge, and Boss said in exasperation "Look, you'll get your bonus next year!"  Uh-uh.  Not good enough.  This boss had a notoriously poor memory, and we didn't trust him to remember.  So, he finally caved and got us some money.  It was noticeably less than what the other team members got (the newest and least-experienced software developer got more than we did), but we figured that was the best we were going to do.

goldilocks

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 03:56:18 PM »
Something similar happened when I worked at the swoosh company. 

Big project.  Several people from my city went to corporate for several months to help out on this, basically giving up their family life for about 3-4 months.

When project got ready to go live, another person in my city was appointed to set up a work room - basically find some space, get network connections and supplies in there.

Bonus time!   Guess who got a bonus?  If you say the people who were on the project for 4 months, you lose.

Thipu1

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 06:22:04 PM »
We had this happen too, several times.

In the library, we often had to do a lot of research and other special work for curators who were putting together exhibitions.  After months or, in one case several years of extra work, the show opened and the catalog was published. 

The acknowledgement pages were extensive.  The electricians were thanked by name.  The guys who painted the walls were thanked by name and the painting was just ordinary painting done with rollers. The carpenters who built the cases were thanked by name.  Even the conservator who made cradles for the books (from the library) on display was thanked by name. 

Were the two members of the library staff who worked their tushes off on this show thanked?  Of
course not. 

The out-of-house designer claimed that he didn't know our names so we were thanked at the end as the 'staff of the X Museum'.  Okay, all he had to do was ask the curator but that was too much trouble.   

Dr. F.

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 06:38:13 PM »
Yep.

Again, putting together a symposium. I was supposed to do the program, only the person accepting presentations wouldn't enforce the deadline. I got the final list of presentations at 5 PM on Friday. The program had to be at the printer at 9 AM on Monday to make the deadline. Yeah. I got 4 hours sleep over that weekend, as I did about 100 pages worth of page layout after organizing the presentations into sessions. My thanks? "Oh, you could've run late, everyone does!"

I also ended up doing the website even though one of my (male) colleagues was supposed to do it. Him, "I don't know HTML!" Me: "You don't have to! We have a contractor - just tell them what we want!" Him, "But what do we want?"

ARRGHHH!

I was included in the "and others" in the thanks for organizing the symposium. It's one of the MANY things that still rankle from that job. I will tell the story of the symposium proceedings later.

BarensMom

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2013, 06:55:38 PM »
Yep.

Again, putting together a symposium. I was supposed to do the program, only the person accepting presentations wouldn't enforce the deadline. I got the final list of presentations at 5 PM on Friday. The program had to be at the printer at 9 AM on Monday to make the deadline. Yeah. I got 4 hours sleep over that weekend, as I did about 100 pages worth of page layout after organizing the presentations into sessions. My thanks? "Oh, you could've run late, everyone does!"

I also ended up doing the website even though one of my (male) colleagues was supposed to do it. Him, "I don't know HTML!" Me: "You don't have to! We have a contractor - just tell them what we want!" Him, "But what do we want?"

ARRGHHH!

I was included in the "and others" in the thanks for organizing the symposium. It's one of the MANY things that still rankle from that job. I will tell the story of the symposium proceedings later.

...And we are now hearing from my replacement! ;D

Dr. F.

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2013, 07:23:22 PM »

I was included in the "and others" in the thanks for organizing the symposium. It's one of the MANY things that still rankle from that job. I will tell the story of the symposium proceedings later.

...And we are now hearing from my replacement! ;D

I wish! I bet the Evil Oil Company would've paid better than the tiny little non-profit I was then working for.

littlelauraj

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2013, 09:24:44 PM »
I had something similar happen this summer.  It wasn't a job, but a community project that I shared responsibilities for with one other woman.  It involved kids, so while I was running around making sure the nuts and bolts were taken care of (literally at the last minute more than once for a multi-night event), she was giggling and hanging out with teenagers.  Guess who got a great big thank you with some added "you are so great" gushing?  Yeah, not me.  Apparently no one was even sure what I had done.

Oh, she did do some things besides giggling with the girls, and they did remember to tack me on as an "oh, and Littlelauraj, too", but it really stung.  Thank goodness it wasn't a job.  I never have to go back to it again.

Thipu1

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Re: Barensmom's Sheraton Palace Story (Long)
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2013, 10:29:12 AM »
We had this happen when we did our first interactive murder mystery show. 

The show was to go off on Halloween weekend.  We had to know that we had a viable story by Easter.  Then it was writing, deciding on clues and props we needed.  Clues and props had to be fabricated by us. 

The casting had to be done by the end of August.  Then, there were rehearsals and the shooting of a videotape.  A theme menu had to be planned for the cocktail hour and the sit-down dinner portion of the evening. 

Because people who attended were to be moving through a series of five rooms to see the crime
scene and hear suspects interact, early reservations were a must.  Teams would be seated together at the meal so there was a seating plan to deal with and there was a limit to how many people could attend. 

Each attendee received a booklet with background information on the suspects and pages for notes.  These had to be written, formatted, printed and assembled.  The covers of the booklets were printed in the colors assigned to each team.  We had the booklets printed by a local print shop but did the writing, formatting and assembling ourselves.

Finally, there was herding of the visitors through the rooms in a timely manner and the tallying of team votes during dessert.  By the time it was all over, we were exhausted and our husbands were fed up. We paid for everything except the cost of food for the dinner and wages for the servers.   

Perhaps we did too good a job.  On the booklets we used the initials of our last names and called
ourselves 'MSG Productions'. 

What did we hear from people who attended the event? 

'I didn't know that Madison Square Garden did things like this.'

Of course, many of the people who attended the event were used to Calling a trusted caterer and giving the outline of a party.  The caterer would then take care of everything.         





 
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 10:34:30 AM by Thipu1 »