Ms. Haley's Opus...

A few weeks ago, I got a summons from the HR department, notifying me that I had been drafted into serving on the Peer Recognition Committee. Apparently, my supervisor had appointed me, without consulting me before hand. There is basically no committee in the museum that I would rather serve on less -- the main purpose of the group is to script and perform in a skit that recognizes special achievements by the museum's staff in the past year. I was fine with helping select the award winners, but I had absolutely no desire to participate in a performance in front of all my coworkers; I would have been having stage-fright-driven panic attacks for weeks before hand. To keep myself out of the skit, I volunteered to produce a media component for the performance.

We settled on a political theme for this year's production: the "Special Achievement by a Non-Supervisory Employee Award" became the "Bleepin' Golden Award," in a nod to Illinois' notorious former governor; the "Mentor Award" became the "Great Communicator Award," named after Ronald Reagan; the "Unsung Hero Award" became the "Ask Not What Your Museum Can Do For You Award" in reference to Kennedy's famous inaugural address; the "Organizational Distinction Award" for teamwork became the "Yes We Can Award." The skit would be conducted like a political press conference, with one of our group members playing the role of Farrah Schmalin, a Sarah Palin parody.

My media component would be a YouTube question for the press conference, riffing on the ridiculous attempt at integrating social media into the 2008 presidential debates. My coworker, Matt, and I got assigned the task of producing the video, in which we interviewed our fellow CHM employees about what they looked for in an "Ask Not What Your Museum Can Do For You Award" recipient. In keeping with the tongue-and-cheek nature of the skit, we attempted to solicit humorous responses from our peers. This video, in which Matt stars, has taken up an inordinate amount of my time over the last week, so I thought I would share my handiwork with all of you on the occasion of today's Peer Recognition Award Ceremony:

Thankfully, the awards went astonishingly well. Stephanie's rendition of Farrah Schmalin was spot on, and drew raucous laughs and applause. Our transitions to our technological components (such as the above YouTube clip) went smoothly, and most importantly (to me at least), my colleagues appreciated the humor of our video. Matt's intentionally corny intro was a crowd-pleaser, as was the reference to the collapsed ceiling in Heidi's office, Jill the curator's lounging soliloquy delivered from a swan, and the bit involving Russell, the Vice President and boss to many, including myself. I am happy that it went well, but I am even happier that the Peer Recognition Awards are over and I can move on with my life.

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