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Enforcer experiences

Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
edited October 2007 in PAX Archive
So, aside from the much relieved crowding this year, over all PAX wasn't all that different from last year. To keep things fresh, my wife and I are talking about being enforcers next year. I've already decided to do it, but I'd still like to get people's opinions on the experience so I know what to expect.

How much free time do you have to go do panels and stuff that you're interested in/how easy is it to get assigned to the panels you're interested in?

Do you still have to pay for your own passes? How much (if any) of your expenses does PAX pay?

How early do you need to be there? How late do you need to stay? Thursday to Monday? Longer?

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Bionic Monkey on
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Posts

  • JaidenJaiden Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    You're required to stay on for one shift a day, which is typically about six hours. Other than that, any other work you put in is purely by your own choice. Other than that, you're free to PAX it up as you see fit.

    As part of being an Enforcer, your badge gets you access for all three days at no charge. Regarding how long you need to stay there, setup starts on Thursday, teardown goes until Monday. You're not required to be there for setup or teardown, as we understand not everyone can take an entire week off just for PAX. We're pretty understanding with regards to your time restraints, but we do ask that you at least work your one six-hour shift per day.

    Regarding expenses, that's more your own to handle. This is purely volunteer work. Most people get hotel rooms with other Enforcers or find locals to crash with over the course of the weekend. Either way, you still get the PAX hotel room rate.

    Any other questions, feel free to post or PM.

    Jaiden on
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  • PlayPlay Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    There are rare occasions when you feel like your feet might implode on themselves, but other than that, it's just about the most fun you can have at PAX.

    Enforcers are a closely knit community, working PAX is just the tip of the iceberg. We hang out, play games, make up in-jokes, etc.

    So basically, it's like your favorite internet forum came to life. And they're going to PAX with you. For free.

    Play on
  • SergeantAuberieSergeantAuberie Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I totally want to do this next year.
    I wanted to do it this year, but I had never been, and decided I needed to deal with being overwhelmed before embarking upon any responsibility.

    SergeantAuberie on
  • CerriusCerrius Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    The one piece of advice every Enforcer can agree upon:

    Bring comfortable shoes.

    Cerrius on
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  • MoonVydeoMoonVydeo Lord Moon Enforcer at Large Istanbul (Not Constantinople)Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Cerrius wrote: »
    The one piece of advice every Enforcer can agree upon:

    Bring comfortable shoes.


    Additionally wear Under Armor and shower daily. :D

    It's one of those jobs you will work hard, but it will be worth it all. Be flexible.

    MoonVydeo on
  • BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Underarmor doesnt work on everyone.

    Doesnt work on me :( I put it on and im like 50x warmer with it on than without.

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
  • munkyboy0930munkyboy0930 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I am so doing this next year. I am trying to get my friend to do it but he wants to be one of the first people in line on Friday again and thinks this may interfere. but yeah my girlfriend and I are so going to be enforcers next year.

    munkyboy0930 on
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  • Ezekiel Zelias ChaosEzekiel Zelias Chaos Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Hey, cool. You can do Line security and wait with your friends! ha!

    As it is from my experiences with transition.. Working PAX is mostly awesome because you will likely work in a field you'd like to work in. Got fancy ideas? You can actually make PAX better by working with your team and others.

    Requests can be submitted to ensure that the primary events that you're looking for can be worked around.

    Being an enforcer multiplies self-esteem, as working with others is definitely happening, and you've probably decided to become an enforcer because you want to help, not because of the swag, the glory, or ______ (heh heh heh).

    Ezekiel Zelias Chaos on
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  • NorthNorth Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Play wrote: »
    Not to mention the opportunity to get the most awesome swag ever.

    There is no additional swag you get for being an enforcer. We do it for the experience and bringing joy to the little children.

    North on
  • GirlZeusGirlZeus Registered User new member
    edited September 2007
    Yes on the shoes. ABSOLUTE yes. My feet are /still dying/, and the first two days they were fine. The pain sneaks up on you.

    That said, every injury and lost hour of sleep was completely worth it. Best week ever, best people you'll ever meet. You work your ass off and come out of it exhausted and sore, but the community is amazing and the work is a blast.

    Do it.

    GirlZeus on
  • sakanasakana Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    North wrote: »
    Play wrote: »
    Not to mention the opportunity to get the most awesome swag ever.

    There is no additional swag you get for being an enforcer. We do it for the experience and bringing joy to the little children.

    I think the swag thing is in reference to this awesome, long-sleeved shirt we all got. *flex*

    PAX as an Enforcer is a ton of fun. Come with comfortable shoes, deodorant, and a willingness to work hard and be kind to your fellow gamer.

    sakana on
  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    So do you get to choose the shifts you work each day? I would love to volunteer as an enforcer, but the idea of missing either of the concerts or the final round of the Omegathon just makes me go D: after seeing how awesome they are every year. That's about the only thing that held me back from volunteering this year.

    Raiden333 on
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  • JaidenJaiden Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    So do you get to choose the shifts you work each day? I would love to volunteer as an enforcer, but the idea of missing either of the concerts or the final round of the Omegathon just makes me go D: after seeing how awesome they are every year. That's about the only thing that held me back from volunteering this year.

    Essentially, when we start the scheduling process, you just say what your availability is as far as when you want to work. Naturally, seniority goes first, but that's very rarely actually been an issue, and you can always try to work out a shift change between you and another Enforcer if there's something you REALLY want to see, as long as you keep clear communication with your area manager regarding the swap.

    Jaiden on
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  • BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Benefits? wtf you talking about?

    Last I checked working at pax as much as I did cost me about $1,200-$1,400 in expenses and lost pay.

    Its worth it to me but I dont know of any said benefits.

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
  • mygiantrobotmygiantrobot Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I have to say deciding to become an Enforcer was one of the best decisions I've made in years. I know that doesn't help much in anyone's decisions.

    I do have to let you know though, becoming an Enforcer is not about being an Enforcer. Number one, you are there to make PAX awesome for our attendees. It's not about free shit, getting recognition or anything else. Granted there is a fair bit of that, but if you are joining for that reason, I don't think you understand, nor will you be completely satisfied with your experience.

    mygiantrobot on
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  • LigerLiger Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I have to say deciding to become an Enforcer was one of the best decisions I've made in years. I know that doesn't help much in anyone's decisions.

    I do have to let you know though, becoming an Enforcer is not about being an Enforcer. Number one, you are there to make PAX awesome for our attendees. It's not about free shit, getting recognition or anything else. Granted there is a fair bit of that, but if you are joining for that reason, I don't think you understand, nor will you be completely satisfied with your experience.

    Agreed, becoming an Enforcer was one of the best things I did this summer. Not for the swag, not for the badge, not for the tee shirt (...that might be a tiny lie, the shirt kicks ass). I did it for the people. Of all the Enforcers I met at PAX, I'd have to say that I find about 95% of them to be 100% awesome. And for how hard they work to make PAX such an experience, there's not enough swag to compensate for that.

    As for the other 5%... There's some in every crowd, right?

    Liger on
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  • David CoffmanDavid Coffman Registered User, PAX Staff regular
    edited September 2007
    Being an "Enforcer" for me results in, literally, the hardest working period of every year I ever endure....I work way harder for PAX than I ever have for any paid job, much less unpaid. It's 3 hours of sleep each day, it's missing meals on account of being too busy to acknoweldge hunger, it's an entire weekend on my feet virtually the entire time, and the worst part....the very worst part...is that I miss just about everything. There's no time for panels, keynotes, omegathons, concerts, tournaments. There is time only to work.

    Why do I do it? As kind as PA is towards the Enforcers (and we are reasonably well taken care of), you bet your ass it's got absolutely nothing at all to do with the $45 pass or whatever else they may offer us in that department.

    I do it because I love PAX, I love the idea of PAX, and if offered the chance to play just a small role in helping PAX be as kickass as it can possibly be, then count me in. That's what they really offer us...a chance to be a part of something great working side by side with a crew of other people who have the same passion.

    As enforcers, we all have different roles, and sure, some people don't work as hard as I do, other people work harder, and a whole lot of people bare much greater expense to come from farther away than I do to do it....but if you were to ask us, the happy ones...the ones who enjoyed the experience and look forward to doing it again next year will all give a similar explanation of why they wear the black - I'd bet my life on it.

    It's a painful, difficult, sleep depriving, stressful, time consuming, and expensive thing that we do...but it is also rewarding in the least materialistic way possible.

    If this is not the sort of thing you can picture yourself saying about PAX, and that's not a bad thing...there's no list of things out there in the world I don't/wouldn't volenteer to help create....but if you can't imagine yourself saying that about PAX, I don't suggest you apply to be an Enforcer.

    For whatever my opinion may be worth to you.

    David Coffman on
  • petfishpetfish Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I might be able to summarize Dave's awesome post about why he's an Enforcer into some simple reasons I enforce.

    First and foremost, the most fun I ever have is in making sure other people are having a good time. Seriously, this is something that should be taken into consideration before volunteering for any kind of event. Do you have a great time making sure other people are having fun? You'll like being an Enforcer.

    Just like PAX people are essentially my people, Enforcers are my people - with the added bonus that generally they have the same sense of fun. When I joined the Enforcers, I gained a few hundred best friends.

    Penny Arcade is rad. I mean, that's why you're here, right? I find generally the biggest fans are all Enforcers.

    Finally, I would be lying if I told you that just seeing if I'm capable of the kind of work PAX requires isn't part of it. We have all sorts of jobs for Enforcers, some fairly laid back and some grueling, and we have quite possibly the hardest working group of event staffers in the world. You can find a fit for yourself within the Enforcer crowd, and I was able to find my fit working above and beyond where I thought my limits were.

    PAX is where I get to shine, and I love it for that.

    petfish on
    <khoo> PAX WAS LIKE A ZILLION DAYS
  • GoogalashGoogalash Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I think all the other folks have nailed it down.

    Beeing an enforcer is the best experience ever hands down.

    Googalash on
  • xnolanxxnolanx Enforcer, PAX Engineering Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Googalash wrote: »
    I think all the other folks have nailed it down.

    Beeing an enforcer is the best experience ever hands down.

    Indeed, posting at this point is just repeating, but it really is a terrific experience. Being an Enforcer is about a team, a family, working towards an amazing shared goal, PAX. I love all my Enforcer family.

    xnolanx on
  • Shades747Shades747 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    As a volunteer since the day they announced plans for the first PAX, I couldn't ever imagine not being an Enforcer. Seriously, these people are like family (actually I like them more than most of my family). But yeah, I tell just about anyone who asks that the only thing cooler than attending PAX is being a part of it. Then they ask me what I had time to do... my answer is usually "nothing" and "everything" Yeah, some of us work 16hr days or more, and some people work one shift, change into civis and enjoy PAX. Whatever your deal is, you're welcome among us. If you want to be an Enforcer to "be in charge" "get backstage" or "just for the shirt and free pass", please do everyone a favor and enjoy PAX as a participant instead. If you want to help and be a part of something HUGE and AWESOME, stop reading already and email to volunteer next year.

    Shades747 on
  • Foxy_RoxyFoxy_Roxy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    sooo... when do me and munkyboy sign up for next year?

    Foxy_Roxy on
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  • JaidenJaiden Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    As soon as you see the post go up on the PA main site saying it's recruiting time. :D

    Jaiden on
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  • petfishpetfish Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Foxy_Roxy wrote: »
    sooo... when do me and munkyboy sign up for next year?

    Keep an eye on the news page or the PAX forum around January or February, the call for new Enforcers usually goes out around the same time we start early pre-reg for PAX.

    petfish on
    <khoo> PAX WAS LIKE A ZILLION DAYS
  • RelativioxRelativiox Halo Nerd Forerunner shield world OnyxRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I have to agree with most everyone that has posted here.

    I love enforcing for two reasons.

    1) I love to help out and want to make PAX awesome.

    2) All the people that you get to meet are awesome. Especially the attendees and such that thank you for a great time.

    Relativiox on
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  • MoonVydeoMoonVydeo Lord Moon Enforcer at Large Istanbul (Not Constantinople)Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    mygiantrobot, DiscoDave, Liger, and petfish pretty much nail it. I ditto what they say. Hard work, little reward, but worth it to see the best video game fan expo grow.

    MoonVydeo on
  • mspencermspencer PAX [ENFORCER] Council Bluffs, IARegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Again, I don't want to repeat too badly. This was my first year Enforcering and it was awesome. I can't wait to do it again next year. (Actually, several of the Enforcers have me half talked into moving up to Seattle, and that idea still has me excited.)

    There's just something electric about an environment where everybody gets the same obscure jokes, and where you can whip out a DS and say "anybody for Mario Kart" and see all eight slots filled up within a couple minutes. If you find it super-rewarding to be a part of making that happen, definitely Enforce next year.

    As for personal experiences: you know those PA comic banners hanging around the convention center? Myself and two other Enforcers hung those up. I collected a pile of comic banners, and we walked around and chatted and laughed about what comics we wanted to put where. Press lounge? That gets the "you'd like to criticize that but you can't! It's not FOR you!" comic. Tabletop gets the "sandwich looks delicious because I roll twenties" comic. Etc. That completely floored me -- we three Enforcers were given only very loose direction about how to hang the comics up, and we just went and did. And the comics were hung with love and care.

    Likewise, as a game industry wannabe (and Comp Sci grad student) I said on the forum I was really interested in seeing game design/game creation related panels (and like a newbie I thought there'd be two or three maybe.) When we were asked for shift preferences I put nearly random things because I didn't know any better. You know where PRD put me? Working Satellite Theater A, essentially so I would be inside the theater working during most of the panels I wanted to see. How awesome was that? Much <3, PRD, much <3.

    Yes of course I had a few brief moments of "holy crap the day is almost over and I haven't seen any of the expo hall!" and I had to pick over swag leftovers (mostly to bring home to friends) on Sunday evening. I have a pretty clear picture of what I missed by being an Enforcer now. There's so much more I would have seen as an attendee. That doesn't matter though -- my experiences this year as an Enforcer couldn't have been bought. I'm totally doing this again next year.

    As a final note, Liger is right about the 5%. The Black Army has grown to the point where there will be some personality clashes, based on the sheer number of people and number of personality combinations alone. There isn't just one set of 18-out-of-350 people that annoys everyone: that 5% will be different for everyone. It helps to have a low annoyance threshold, though, because as an Enforcer you need to be friendly and sociable and grateful even to the people who annoy you.

    That's not worth worrying about, though. The remaining 95% of people you work with are so awesome it's scary. Imagine hundreds of people who share so many of your interests and get along with you so well it's scary how well you click. So awesome. :-)

    mspencer on
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  • DreamwriterDreamwriter Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Wow, lotta threads where someone mentions "me and xxx are going to be enforcers next year"....what happens when everyone's an enforcer?

    Dreamwriter on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Wow, lotta threads where someone mentions "me and xxx are going to be enforcers next year"....what happens when everyone's an enforcer?

    Tycho arms us with cardboard and foam and we take over the city.

    TNTrooper on
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  • BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Wow, lotta threads where someone mentions "me and xxx are going to be enforcers next year"....what happens when everyone's an enforcer?

    Its like that every year. When it gets to recruiting time only a few of those people apply :P

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Bluster Kerfuffle Master of Windy ImportRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'd throw myself in with those expressing intent to join the ranks of the black.

    But at this point I don't even know if I'll be in the US for PAX next year, as I plan on starting in the Navy (please, no Village People jokes) in the spring. If so, I don't know if I'd be able to get furlough in August to make it.

    BlackDragon480 on
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  • TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    As an Enforcer this year I managed to work my shifts and I think I got about four or five hours total in the Expo as an attendee. I was there for setup, and while I tried to show up for teardown that didn't work out.

    Usually I try to make some time to hit the Console room, the Spoils tables, maybe some warhammer, and definitely the Exhibition hall, but this year that didn't really happen. I was on call virtually the entire time and I really didn't mind.

    A few things about becoming an Enforcer, just to make sure you're aware of the massive responsibility you're taking on.

    1. Comfortable shoes

    2. Hygiene. Important.

    3. This year I had a fanny pack (slung low and to the side) that contained an entire MacGyver kit. (Altoids, Band-aids, Neosporin, Excedrin, Electric Tape, Pen, Pencil, Post-it notes, Sharpie, Q-Tips, Disposable Camera, Those orange crackers with the peanut butter in them, small baggy of cheerios, Crazy Glue, Nail Polish Remover (in case I misuse the crazy glue), swiss army knife, small screwdriver.) Every object in there came into play at some point during PAX.

    4. If you show up only long enough to collect your badge and are never heard from again, except when you're seen attending the Concerts, you will not be treated kindly. Well, you will be treated kindly, but not with respect.

    5. Everyone is given the opportunity to volunteer for specific areas to cover. Make certain you choose an area that you WANT to work in and help make awesome. If you ask to work in Tabletop, better be familiar with the games and the checkout process, same goes for Console freeplay. If you want to work in VIP Assistance (where I've worked the last four Expos) wear comfortable shoes because you won't be sitting down and be prepared to play step 'n fetch-it for any and every Special Guest. Example: On Saturday night the Minibosses had a while to wait before they went on since, you know, everybody played six or seven encores, so we sent someone (SquallSeeD31 who is mega-awesome) to get them a copy of Settlers of Catan from the Tabletop room. Three floors down. On the other side of the Convention center.

    6. Don't be an ass. You're there to make things awesome for people. Be willing to stop and give directions, take a photo, or answer questions. There have yet to be stories of Enforcers being rude to attendees or guests and we'd like to keep it that way.

    7. The Enforcer afterparty is ALWAYS awesome.

    Taramoor on
  • SergeantAuberieSergeantAuberie Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    Wow, lotta threads where someone mentions "me and xxx are going to be enforcers next year"....what happens when everyone's an enforcer?

    Tycho arms us with cardboard and foam and we take over the city.

    ZOMG YES!
    I want to play...

    This is making me think of Pillow-Polo, a game we used to play in gym class in high school where we were armed with foam things resembling the swords from American Gladiators, and went to town.

    SergeantAuberie on
  • HospyHospy Registered User new member
    edited September 2007
    Just adding my two cents. I had never previously attended a PAX, and was more or less roped into being an Enforcer for the Con, so my experiences may be a bit different from others.

    Given that I had to commute by bus, the time I could actually spend at PAX was, well, fairly constrained. Up into Sunday, pretty much all I saw of the Con was the Enforcer Registration Desk, Console Freeplay (where I ran checkout), and the men's bathroom on the second floor. I got there at noon, worked one and a half shifts, then checked out for the bus ride home. I did get to see the Expo hall on Sunday, which pretty much blew my mind. I still sort of wonder what I missed in the Con, with the theatres, and panels, and the Omegathon, which, from what I hear, is the majority of the Con.

    Despite the somewhat bland description of my activities, it really was a blast for me. I had a great time getting the opportunity to help out my fellow gamers in acquiring and playing console games. I am definitely looking forward into Enforcing next year. I just hope I get to see a little bit more of the Con this time.

    Hospy on
  • HicksHicks Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'll chime in on this one.

    I started enforcing because I loved the concept of PAX and I wanted to contribute anything I could to furthering its success. I continue to enforce because of my fellow enforcers, PA staff, and everyone associated with the runnings and happenings of PAX.

    The companionship and comradery that I've found in my time as an Enforcer surpases even that I experienced in the military. My fellow Enforcers and PA Staff members are part of my extended family now, I'd do just about anything for these people and I know that they are always there if I needed them.
    So yeah, I guess you can sum it up into: PAX Enforcing for me is like a combination of my passion to see social gaming put into the spotlight, and a huge family reunion.

    After all, it takes a special kind of person to put up with my crap. 8-)

    Hicks on
  • skwisgaar Skwigelfskwisgaar Skwigelf Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    How old do you have to be to be recruited into the Black? By the time PAX 2008 rolls around I will be 16 years old. Is that too young?

    skwisgaar Skwigelf on
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  • BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    How old do you have to be to be recruited into the Black? By the time PAX 2008 rolls around I will be 16 years old. Is that too young?

    Yes.

    18+ Only please :)

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
  • SamyelSamyel Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    BigRed wrote: »
    18+ Only please :)

    What the hell actually goes on at that Enforcer after-party? O_o

    Samyel on
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  • NorthNorth Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Thats classified and unrelated to the 18+ age limit.

    North on
  • CleverNickNameCleverNickName Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Are you awesome?

    Because every single Enforcer I met was awesome. If you're awesome, you can be an enforcer, because if you're awesome, the rest will take care of itself.

    Also, awesome.

    CleverNickName on
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This discussion has been closed.