I just finished another PAC. You know, gigging for Microsoft at their Partner Advisory Council. It’s nice to be out of town. Nice to stay at our regular hotel in Seattle, which is part of our timeshare.
Seattle should be a coffee hub. I say should be. Because our hotel’s coffee is the worst. We tried drinking it a few times, thinking it couldn’t be that disgusting. Yet, it is.
Okay, so I happened to photograph the decaf one. No matter. The regular, which also comes with the room, tastes like dirt in a cup. I don’t care where coffee is grown. It shouldn’t taste like the rainforest just because it grew there.
I had a new PAC this time. New acronyms, new presenters, new participants. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Your lead can make the experience good or rather horrible. Blessedly, I had a great lead and an even greater assistant, also a contractor, who sent me the agenda, list of participants with company names, and a list of the most regularly used acronyms. Only 57 of those on the list. I felt like I’d won the lottery. That, folks, is organization.
But back to the rainforest. The second day’s agenda included one more session after lunch. I didn’t notice it went from 1:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m until after we returned. I groaned inwardly. Any breaks? Please, God. I can only tread water in the acronym ocean for so long.
The first speaker stepped up. A tall glamorous blonde woman in a blazer, hair past her shoulders, smiled at the group. She introduced herself.
“I don’t know if you know this, but last fall during this PAC, I had been on the job for less than a month.”
Not the first time I’ve heard this. Microsoft has a habit of throwing people into the fire pretty much right away after they get hired.
“I don’t have it here today, but I had a sugar glider with me. Anyone know what that is?”
We all looked at each other. I had a vague reminiscence of a bat-like creature, left over from a trip to the zoo. But it couldn’t be.
Maybe this? But made of sugar. Like a Boy Scout-crafting project.
She smiled again.
“It’s a marsupial, like a flying squirrel.”
The look on my PAC lead’s face was priceless. Shock. Concern. Worry. Everyone else in the room looked uncomfortable, but laughed at the incongruity of it all.
“He stayed quiet for PACs, but unfortunately, not much after that. People kept asking me, is your stomach growling? Are you on dialysis?” She laughed. “I got the reputation of the lady who carried a pouch on her chest.”
What happens at PACs, stays at PACs.