Once I arrived, I got to reunite with many friends from last year. Most of us have kept in touch on Facebook, and were planning to take this course together, which the program encourages. People in my class came from as near as the National Mall and as far as you can get without going to the moon, National Park of American Samoa. They came from Statue of Liberty, Independence, Yosemite, Alaska, Arkansas, Michigan, and everywhere in between.
Much of the class dealt with personality types and learning to work together better. We revisited the Myers-Briggs results we got last year, and added a new assessment called Team Dimensions. They were similar but different. We did exercises that tricked us into working together, learning more about personalities, then figuring out where we had room for improvement based on our experience. First lesson learned was to know your people's strengths and weaknesses, and to complement each other. Second was to assert yourself if you knew you had a preference.
For example, for our field exercise, unbeknownst to us, we were divided into teams that were designed around having different Team Dimensions types. We were assigned a task: choose roles, visit a site, gather certain information, then prepare and present on what we found. I was on a team sent to the National Postal Museum, and since I was the local, I was pretty much forced to be the navigator, which was a good role anyway. After laying out the options for the group, we elected to take the metro. We did this at the lunch table in the DOI headquarters building; those of us doing the planning later saw as more was revealed to us, that these were natural roles for us at that stage in the game.
Before we got underway, we ran into NPS director Jon Jarvis in the cafeteria. He was cordial enough to take time to visit briefly with all of us. Hopefully no one told him they actually sat in his desk while he wasn't there the day before!
"I think I have your old locker," I said.
Jon Jarvis' Moustache has a humorous Twitter account, in which it talks about itself and Jon Jarvis as "we." So does Ken Salazar's Bolo Tie, who is getting increasingly testy of the secretary's newfangled, bolo-less wardrobe.
We set out for our mission with high spirits. We had one shoe emergency, but luckily there are shops at Union Station; during the incident I displayed what would later be revealed as personality traits tending toward goal-orientation and abstract thought, and less toward empathy. The museum was actually pretty cool. The National Stamp Collection is housed there, and I stumbled upon letters carried by Amelia Earhart. I also found a display with letters pulled from wreckage and bodies of the Titanic, and from the Hindenburg.
Did you know the Hindenburg had a smoking lounge?
The museum also had some cool vehicles on display, and surprisingly well done exhibits. I guess it is a Smithsonian after all. But the best part? There was no one there. So the next time you're in D.C., check it out! You can even buy stamps!
Another fun thing we got to do was to tour the Main Interior building on C Street. The building was among the early modern government buildings in D.C., and has some interesting artwork that sets off each of the bureaus under Department of Interior.
Otherwise it looks like this for several city blocks.
Challenge! Find the hidden references to Communism!
The two above photos were taken by Russell Smith.
So instead of boring you with the details of what we did in a classroom, I'll just put up a picture of the class at the Einstein Memorial and tell you that everyone passed. Huzzah! The training was very worthwhile. I shared what I learned about myself with my supervisor. I said "I realize you could use this knowledge to manipulate me, but I wanted you to know how I can work best for you." Trust.