I don’t know about a perfect storm, but it sure as heck was a dark and thunderous weekend at the Bear household.
As you can imagine, the tumult we caused by deciding to leave as Guild Leaders of Sidhe Devils brought a lot of uncertainty to the guild.
You would think, having made our decisions with the best of intentions, that we’d be hovering all weekend, immersed in the game, hoping to talk with folks, answer questions, and be there for people during the transition.
Yeah, you’d think that, wouldn’t you?
Sadly, that turned out to not be the case, and it became a stellar example of how “proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” Because we DIDN’T plan properly prior to our announcement.
And so, we had piss poor performance. Wow, go figure.
We made our announcement about stepping down as guild leaders without considering what we already knew; that this last weekend, and indeed this upcoming week as well, are scheduled to be the very busiest for me at work of the last year.
Normally, as the Maintenance Manager I work a reliable Monday – Friday work week. I might work late, 10 or 12 hours days at times, but the weekends are almost always free.
This last weekend, however, I had a team of engineers flying in from Japan to perform a 3 day overhaul and intensive maintenance cycle on one of the most critical pieces of production equipment in the plant. Over $40,000 was invested in this 3 day maintenance cycle alone, and I was the coodinator at the heart of it. From Thursday afternoon until Sunday night, I would have a team here at the plant performing maintenance and calibrations, and they would be gone by early Monday morning. Everything I wanted addressed had to be done by Sunday night, or it wouldn’t get done.
I ended up being at work until after 8 PM on Friday working with the team and making sure day one went well, ordering parts, fixing bearing blocks, yadda yadda.
No problems, right?
Yeah, well, Alex had been sick for the last week, and he wasn’t getting better. By Thursday, we were getting worried about his fever and upset stomach and chronic cough. On Friday, Cassie took him to the doctor… and, of course, yes he is sick and is now on penicillin, the kind that he’s NOT allergic to. Not a happy little trouper (although he likes the flavor of the medicine. Apparently, medicine flavors have come a long way.)
So, Saturday became a lot more important about spending time with him and taking him to Home Depot and having fun and letting him relax. Instead of going in to work, I let it slide, let my crew take care of it, figured I’d spend more time in on Sunday.
And of course, that let me log in to see what was up. And… silence. Okay. Nothing being said at all on forums, except for a few very nice folks volunteering for administrating the forums, or providing a vent server, other things related to running a guild, but no discussion at all about actual guild leadership. Cassie and I were getting worried, because we expected that there would be some kind of discussion going on. I mean, there are over 70 members of Sidhe Devils, only 7 to 10 are usually online at a given time, and they play across three time zones. Where else is there going to be a discussion of it?
Of course, if we don’t want to do it anymore, why would we think others would be crazy enough to do it? What if nobody steps forward? We can NOT just dump guild leadership on some poor person and run screaming, after all. Hell no.
Then, late at night on Saturday, we had two groups post almost on top of each other with their proposals of assuming leadership, neither of whom were aware of the other’s plans.
We logged into vent to chat about it with folks, and started comparing notes of conversations we’d had with various people… and along the way, we realized that we’d made a pretty big mistake. The most frequently heard statement was that people specifically joined Sidhe Devils, not necessarily because we were in there, but because of what we’d long said we were about as a guild, and it was that attitude in the guild that was the attractive thing, and that if we leave then it might or might not stay the same. But, oh, by the way, here are some new issues that we’ve noticed when you aren’t around that are worrying us.
Oh, and do you really have to go? This is your guild, it seems wrong for you to be the ones to leave. So many people think of Sidhe Devils as “Wind and Cassie’s guild”. But if you really HAVE to…
By 3 AM on Sunday morning, we’d waffled back around to deciding to stay in the guild as guild leaders, because let’s be honest, we love the people in the guild, we really, really do, but to really, and this time we mean it, lean on other officers to take some of the burden of dealing with issues off of us. Right away, the biggest issue would be to have someone administer the forums, and to work directly with someone else on applications, and cut us out of that loop.
Cassie drafted a very nice write up on our changing our minds about leaving on Sunday morning over cereal, while I taught Alex how to paint the neat wood wagon he’d made at Home Depot. He picked this incredible fire engine red color. Maybe Cassie can post some pictures, I think he did a great job. A very proud little boy.
And then, as I raced out the door to get to work, I asked Cassie to go ahead and post it so people would know what we were thinking.
Ten hours later, it’s past nine o’clock, and I haven’t been back home of course, and Cassie’s computer died. She can get into forums, but not the game, and people are “quitting Sidhe Devils all over the place”.
Well, with my head in the middle of a gearbox upside down, that’s the impression I got from the cellphone conversation, anyway. Oh, and did I mention her work computer, with which she makes a living, is dead?
Yes, we’ve got a backup USB external hard drive with automated daily backups, but it’s late on Sunday night, and if it’s a hardware issue, I don’t have spares on hand when I get home. Sigh.
Let me tell you something.
Being at work at 9 PM on a Sunday night with a crew of Japanese engineers who speak no english (thank God for the translator I hired), a sick son and a wife with a dead work computer that needs fixing at home, and a guild imploding because you’re clearly not adept at thinking things through, and absolutely no way to do a damn thing about any of it, except the work part?
That right there is what I call a fine feeling. Spiffy.
Once I bid farewell to the engineers and the translator at their hotel late Sunday night, I drove home, deciding I was done blogging and playing the game. Just over. This kind of stress, worrying about people quitting without even the possibility of being able to be there to talk to them because all this real life stuff happened during the virtual stuff, worrying about the guild when I’ve got real life stuff that just has to come first? This is crazyness.
And then I get home, and I ask Cassie how many more people quit the guild, and how bad it was getting, and she asked me what I was talking about. Sure, a couple people did quit, but more just said they were worried about what we meant or what we were intending to do, but were glad we’d be staying. Everyone was nice. She’d had a nice talk with several people through email, and even on the phone. Where did I get the idea the guild was imploding?
I finally got to log into the game and look at the forums at, what, 10:30, and there were about 10 people on, the ‘night crew’. Just having fun, doing stuff. Poor Azriaga told us what happened to his car, and I plotted with Stop to, um, ‘cheer him up’.
Then Cassie and I did Argent Tournament dailies, and off to bed, to prepare for the rest of hell week. And make no mistake, the rest of this week will continue to be hell. Alex is still sick, I’ve still got tons of events at work I’m coordinating, and critical machines that need emergency repairs.
But I did fix Cassie’s computer. And Alex IS getting better. And his wagon IS cute.
And the guild is still there. Maybe a little battered, a little bruised from rough handling. But still the folks that make up the guild are what counts, and for the most part, we’re still here.
At least, they were when I went to bed last night. Who knows, things might’ve changed.
Another day in the trenches, another opportunity to take a swing at things, another dance among the broken glass, finding enough time to do everything that needs getting done, and knowing that if I miss something, I’ll find out when it starts to smell.
Hopefully, another chance to find a way through to fun without stress.
I think we can do it.
After all, we’re getting more than a little help from our friends.