Fall Commencements this year were simple, and slow, and the greatest challenge was staying awake, mostly because I got two long days, four straight shifts, of easy, sit-down, out-of-the-way positions.
But what struck me this year, this round, as it often does while ushering football games and other events, is that people in groups are odd, by which I mean, "mildly amusing and completely understandable." If there is a line, they will stand in it, even if there is an open door with no line in clear sight and only a couple of feet away. They will also, like other herd animals, stay if everyone else is staying and leave if everyone else is leaving.
Oh yeah, and I also was reminded that, much like in "My Finest Hour," much can be accomplished with the decisive action that other more experienced supervisors are unwilling to take.
So, you know, the bottom line is, it was chilly, windy, rainy, and other -y words, and at the end of the last of five University Commencements over two days, the crowd was reluctant to leave the building, though the building staff were more than willing to put a cork on this series of events and head home to their families. I was not working in a supervisory capacity, and I felt that I should defer to those who were, but I realized that those who were really had no intention to do very much. So I moved through the masses crowding the concourse, and shouted (in the voice that I've discovered can be so much louder than so many others'), "Folks, I don't mean to push you out into the cold, but we're trying to clear the building, so if y'all can start winding up conversations, and taking last pictures, we'd very much appreciate it. Thank you!"
I wandered through about 2/3 of the concourse, repeating this message, stopping to play photographer for various family groups so that no one would be left out of the shot, and thanking people for coming. After just a few minutes, the concourse was virtually clear.
No, there's not much point to this story, but I do want it acknowledged that I saved the University, possibly, $200 or $300 in payroll expenses by my bold and valiant actions this evening. That is all.