Last week I took my first big-girl work trip to Chicago for an Advanced Digital Organizing training put on by the New Organizing Institute. This was my second trip to Chicago, but the first time flying into Midway and having to navigate myself around via public transportation on my own. I was fairly certain I would be able to handle it, but minutes after getting off the plane I started to have doubts.
I purchased my ticket for the “L”, put $20 on it, and then put it in the machine….and it didn’t work! I went to ask the woman working and her response was:
“It’s waaay too hot to be dealing with this.”
And then she let me through. I was able to resolve this issue, but not after having to buy another $10 card the next morning. Good thing I am getting funding reimbursement…but the Chicago Transit Authority totally owes me $20.
I was lucky enough to stay at the amazing home of a good friend of mine from college. It was in Old Town and just off the Red Line so it was super convenient for me to travel to my training.
I went to be pretty early that night after watching The Mummy and eating a Chipotle burrito for dinner. I guess I missed an exciting night because there was a huge hockey game that went into triple overtime and a crazy storm that caused a few tornadoes in the northern part of the state. The storm ended up delaying a bunch of people on their way to the training. Thank goodness I arrived when I did!
The next morning was pretty easy, aside from having to purchase another metro ticket. I was actually a half-hour early to the training and almost signed in for the wrong event since I couldn’t remember the name of my training (it was 8am and I hadn’t had any coffee yet!) Oops!
But after I was all checked in for the *correct* training event, it was absolutely fantastic.
Here’s my breakfast again!
I got to hear from a number of amazing speakers, including most of the digital organizing team from President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. This is particularly exciting because of how it was these few people who completely changed the way campaigns (political and not) are run and organized on the internet.
We also played some awesome ice breakers including listing “our people ” (mine were Runners, Writers, and British Television Watcher) and playing Ninja Rock-Paper-Scissors (which I totally won). It was beyond amazing.
I met a ton of fantastic people. We bonded over drinks at our happy hour and I learned of all the new and exciting opportunities that lay before me in this business. I’m still not sure if I want to continue working for nonprofits or if I want to explore the private sector a bit more, but seeing the passion these people have for their issues was really inspiring.
The bartender didn’t have any Great Lakes Elliot Ness on hand so he offered me an interesting alternative, a Double Bock which I found quite tasty.
One great addition to my trip was getting to be in town for a good friend of mine’s birthday dinner. It is always nice to get to share moments like this with friends instead of having to wish them well from far away.
My flight out was super late, leaving at 9:50pm, and since I was headed back to the eastern time zone I lost an hour and wasn’t home until well after midnight. It was worth it though, and I had the whole weekend to recover. I learned a ton and gained some fabulous life experience in the process! Feels good man, feels good.