Thursday, May 15, 2008

The final BER tryout: Providence

A car commute to our next destination rather than flying, which was a welcome change: no schlepping through airports, no belt/jacket/shoes off, laptop out inspections and cramming oneself into an airline seat designed for people the size of a pre-teen. Desperate for coffee, too, as the drama of speaking on one's feet all day combined with a late night and relaxing car ride can do that to someone. For dinner on Monday, I chose to stay in the hotel and eat at Audrey's (could it be, perhaps, the 10% off incentive?). Along with some excellent french fries and an indifferent Cuban sandwich, I did enjoy a Harpoon IPA, a Newport Storm, and a powerfully aromatic yet only mildly fruity tasting Wachusett Blueberry. Interestingly, the Johnson and Wales Inn was also hosting the Johnson and Wales University athletics banquet, which proved to be entertaining, as the bartender was forced to deny service to some athletes with me as witness, as he was instructed to do. Based on years of observations and coaching, I am sure the kids were wrestlers, too.

Housed in the Johnson & Wales Hotel, my final tryout for BER went, in my estimation, only reasonably well. Unsure as I am about certification rules in the Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island tri-state area, it seemed that the session's 25 or so attendees were only there to fulfill some sort of continuing education requirements, as there was some scrambling at the registration table to secure certification numbers in advance of the program, and to complete the paperwork. My marks were a bit more erratic on this occasion, and the trend continued with people complaining about the facility (temperature, no provided lunch or afternoon coffee, etc.).

Alas, the quest for the elusive 93% approval rating that's required for me to continue my BER employment is moot, as the company has determined that the demand is not enough present, and I am not being retained. No matter, as the entire affair -- the authoring of the introductory essay, the handbook, the preparations of the 170 slide presentation, and the travel and lectures themselves -- proved to be really good for me in terms of my own professional development, and my ability to take risks and accept challenges. Thanks to BER and Boyce Heidenreich for the opportunity. But most of all, thanks to Tiffani for all of her editing and personal support, I would be nowhere without her assistance, and it's now time to start spending her BER provided shoes and handbag fund.

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