Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Be a Hero Judge

The past two weekends at GPs Sacramento and Vancouver, I've had the opportunity to watch Magic Judges in action from the perspective of Staff Manager and Side Events Lead respectively. From these positions, I've noticed that there are far too many Hero Judges around, and frankly, I'm here in Dragon Mode to slay a few of them. Let's start with a simple definition:

Hero Judge - A judge who begins working before their scheduled shift starts or stays after their scheduled shift ends.

This type of behavior is very common with judges. There are a lot of pyschobabbly reasons for it, but fundamentally judges enjoy judging and want to do more of it. The problem is that there are reasons we have shifts, and while you might think that you are helping by extending your shift, you're actually being a problem for the following reasons:

1) Managing judges on staff is a skill that people need to learn. I compare it to playing a worker placement board game like Stone Age or Lords of Waterdeep. As a Shift Lead, you have to figure out how best to allocate your judges to serve all of the events, or if you are the Head Judge or Team Lead, you have to find a way to give all of your judges a break in a timely fashion. If a bunch of judges show up early for the Mid or PM shift, the people responsible for the AM shift don't get to learn how to allocate their resources efficiently because they have a bunch of extra workers to place.

2) Your Lead needs to know how long you've been working. Leads are responsible for the well being and health of the judges working under them. If a Mid-Shift Lead comes on at 11am, he or she is expecting all of the judges on the shift to have come on at 11am, not 10am or 9am, and will make break decisions based on that assumption. Similarly, if you stay on the floor after your Lead has dismissed you for the day, there is often no one there to relieve you.

3) The effects of you overworking might not be seen until the next day or the day after. How many times have you said, "I fee fine. I can stay on for another hour..." on Friday night of a Grand Prix. There are two more days on this event. Get off the floor, get out of the event hall, go eat some food. At a GP you need to pace yourself for multiple days of work. If you frequently find yourself completely tuckered out on Sunday night, you may need to re-evaluate what you did on Friday or Saturday night, not how hard you worked on Sunday.

Over the years, I've heard a lot of people say "take care of yourself. Drink water. Take breaks." Working your scheduled shift and only your scheduled shift needs to be included in this.

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