Friday, June 25, 2021

Best team building exercise ever

Way back when I was in college I work for student affairs. And I eventually became a full-time employee of the Department of student affairs at a big SUNY University. Occasionally, we would taken on retreats where we left the building and worked on team building exercises as a staff. We would break up into random groups and beat tasked to solve a make-believe problem.I thought it was a complete waste of time but it was nice to stay in a hotel somewhere.

For the past eight out of nine days I was an election day worker.  I worked at early voting and then on Election Day. For early voting I was sent to a college a couple miles from my house. I didn't know any of the people I would work with. But we all had one thing in common. We were citizens of New York City who wanted to work at early voting. We had a variety of reasons for being there. Some of us wanted to assist in the civic activity of voting and others wanted to make some money. Most like myself did it for both reasons.

The training we received to do this job was last summer and our supervisors we're basically incompetent. They were there because of political patronage and had no idea what that job was supposed to be. So as a group of strangers we had to figure out how to make early voting work.
That's me and my partner in the background
managing the line at the New York City College of
Technology. The photo is from the Brooklyn paper

And we made it work. We followed a manual, correctly set up the voting machines and allowed our fellow citizens to vote independently and with dignity.

But this wasn't just about voting. I truly believe they're getting to meet the people I worked with was more of a benefit to us then actually setting up the polling place.

Getting to meet and work with my fellow citizens gave me such a greater respect for people who didn't look like me.I assume that feeling when both ways. We all had to overcome the same challenges like figuring out a confusing system that could and should work.As you can see from the photograph above we had a lot of down time while working. That led to a lot of drama among the election working staff. So in order to get the job done we had to overcome some personality conflicts between supervisors and staff and some of the other workers who really weren't up to the job.

Yeah, voting is very important  for democracy. That doesn't even need to be said.  But the process of setting up an election takes a lot of people. And I'm really trying to say that participating in that benefited Society almost as much as voting does. Getting to meet my fellow citizens and working together quite a long way towards making the United States better.

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