So the company I work for is part of an elite Farmers Insurance preferred contractor program that has made my job extremely complicated over the last year. The program has very high performance standards, and in short, it's my job to oversee it all and make sure that we keep in good standing. Public relations at its best.
The business trip I took this week was to attend the program's annual convention in Jacksonville, Florida.
And this is where we stayed: The Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa.
Each morning, we would leave our luxurious hotel rooms, take the elevator down to the lobby, have some breakfast in the restaurant, then grab coffee at the Starbucks before continuing down the grand hallway to the convention center. And then we'd grab Starbucks again on our way back up. :-) Easily one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in, if not the nicest.
Apparently this is a very famous golf resort and is the site for one of the big PGA tournaments.
The day after we left, Tiger Woods held his infamous press conference on the very grounds. How crazy is that??
Anyhow, I really, really enjoyed the convention. It's a crazy comparison (and you'll have to hang with me for this), but it reminded me of Disney World. You see, in the course of my work week, I probably talk on the phone to any 10 of the program's 75 employees. I also e-mail them constantly, since I pretty much have to document every customer conversation I have. So we office girls have built these long-distance phone and e-mail working relationships with 75 people we've never seen. It drives us nuts, and I have to admit that we sometimes try to track people down on Facebook just so we can get a visual to go along with the voice.
So the entire time we were there, we were glancing at people's nametags, looking for familiar names. Leahh would tug my sleeve excitedly and whisper, "That's Joyce!!! Joyce Olson!" Or we would meet someone that we knew the other was looking for and drag them across the pub to introduce them. It was crazy. We were treating people like needles in the haystack -- like novelties. "Ohhhhhhh, you're Jackie! It's so nice to finally meet you!" "Oh, David, have you met Joel yet? He's the tall guy over there. I know he's dying to meet you! Come on; I'll go with you!"
And it reminded me of Ryley's autograph book at Disney World, where we would stand in line for an hour just to finally meet Mickey Mouse or Cinderella or the Fairy Godmother. :-) But in the end, there were only two people I wanted to meet that I didn't get the chance to, and I now have faces to go with the majority of names in my head.
Also, being there and listening to their vision and reasoning for doing things a certain way helped me to gain confidence in my ability to continue to work with the program (and succeed in doing so). I don't feel like they're quite as mean as I first thought. They're just people, too, trying to keep their jobs. :-)
It was a fun trip....good to see new things, learn new things, meet new people, etc. It was Anna's first time out of Colorado, hence her first time to see the ocean! And my very handy I-phone helped us find the beach in the dark at 11:30 p.m (the ocean is ominous and spooky when you're stumbling toward it in the pitch black!) and later track down some touristy spots that I first visited with Ryan when we were dating 14 years ago. :-)
Good times all around.
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2 days ago