Ha ha ha ha ha, i have a business qualification. it’s framed!
tonight i went to a lovely dinner at the apprentice, handed in the hard copy of my work, and got my certificate. done! of course, i’ll still be running another workshop, but that’s no big deal after this one. i was the most casually dressed person there, having made myself a little late with a sartorial crisis, but with my clothes, noone noticed.
wednesday i had finished my paperwork and emailled it off just before i ran off to my burnout workshop. well, there was a class in between, but i was still running, maybe even more so. the workshop went beautifully, and i wrote a review:
The last burnout workshop I ran, at NewQ, I had many posters, and someone to help with them, standing on the arm of the sofa I was sitting on, and intervening in the facilitation while she scribed some things. There were fifteen participants, the majority of whom were young, white, female undergraduate university students who were involved in collective organizing. About half were from Sydney Uni’s Women’s Collective, and I think everyone there knew at least one other person. Only two people were involved in NewQ, the organization I specifically designed the workshop for, so the second half which was supposed to be about examining the organisation’s response to burnout, became a more general discussion about many different organisations and situations, which was not supported well by the prepared materials. Because there were so many people and we were largely from similar cultural and organizing backgrounds, the wait time between one person finishing talking and me being sure everyone is done and directing them to the next topic, was the same as the time everyone else waited before continuing the conversation! This made discussions drag on, as just as I was about to direct the workshop, someone else would start to speak, and I would show respect by hearing them out, and encourage the shy with longer wait times again. I didn’t have a set end time, though I did have a schedule which I tried to keep to, and people walked off three quarters of the way through. I was exhausted, and had trouble keeping people focused through the last couple of activities, and was so drained at the end that I had trouble accepting thanks.
This time, eleven people had registered by the morning of the workshop. Only five of them turned up, and two others, which made eight of us sitting round two tables, a nice size.
Instead of big handwritten posters on the walls, I had booklets with an agenda, several sheets of exercise materials and an evaluation form. I had compiled them that day, with the wonderful help of Lu in the office. This made the facilitation easier, as I didn’t have to move around. It was also appropriate to the circumstances, with the group being heterogeneous and needing to work on their own goals rather than collective ones. It was also helpful for many people to have a clear, typed copy in front of them, for the level of English proficiency was not high. I still had some poster paper and big pens in the middle of the table, and we ended up with three brainstorms, when I’d only planned one, and was unsure about that, in the format. When the time came, it worked well. The one that I scribed for turned out best, but I think the others were valuable too as a way of involving people more.
The participants were quite different from the demographics the workshop was originally designed for, but we took that in our stride. About half had experience in volunteering, but we were able to apply most exercises to school, work or home responsibilities, with a bit of thought. I had to go through before each exercise and make sure everyone had a suitable example to work with, which I never did in the previous run, which was twice the size and full of activists who are familiar with these sorts of procedures. I think being able to give individual attention like this made the workshop better than the original.
We started fifteen minutes late, with six participants. As the workshop is run in a way most people are not familiar with, I consider it important for everyone to hear the introduction. The last person to show up sat next to me, and I had a chance to fill her in on most things. The scheduling worked out well. Though we started late, we finished at the advertised time. There was a small problem that the job search website listing had advertised it as one hour instead of two, and some people wanted to leave half way through. However, we addressed this at the start, and everyone agreed to stay for the full length. I didn’t stick to the minute by minute schedule I had written on my plan, but having run it before, I had a feel for how long things were taking and was able to direct the workshop when necessary. There were few long rambling stories or off topic comments.
I got through the whole workshop without rushing. Everyone was there for the wrap up, filled out my evaluation form and thanked me profusely. There was little mess, I even got some help moving tables back into place, and I went home happy and energised.