PAX Enforcers

I’ve never been shy about my deep respect for the Enforcers at the Penny Arcade Expo.  I’ve been a guest speaker at every PAX since 2008, and lecture widely around the world at a variety of shows and events.  The Enforcers, without exception, have been the most professional, courteous, competent convention staff I’ve ever encountered.

This year, I decided it was time to join them. I worked about 18 hours in the Main Theatre.  Part security, part crowd management, part walking information desk: it became immediately apparent just how much influence each and every Enforcer has on the average attendee’s PAX experience.

Now that I’ve worked with them as a fellow Enforcer, and seen the inside of the operation, I can share the secrets of their success. 

  1. Enforcers are trusted to do their jobs
  2. Enforcers are able to exercise discretion
  3. Enforcers share a culture of professionalism
  4. Enforcers are a meritocracy
  5. Enforcers are there for PAX as much as they’re there for themselves

That’s really it.  These simple points are what differentiate Enforcers from the general staff of most every convention or event I’ve ever attended.

Fan conventions (generally) don’t trust their staff, nevermind afford them any latitude in making on-the-spot calls.  The culture is often something I would describe as “actively anti-professional.” Seniority usually matters far more than skill or merit.  Many volunteers are doing so purely for the free badge or crash space.  PAX Enforcers are in every way the antithesis of what I typically encounter outside of PAX.

So if you want your convention staff to be as single-mindedly badass as the PAX Enforcers, think on these points.  Invite good, intelligent people to run your convention, and trust in their goodness and intelligence.  Act professionally, and your staff will do the same.  Reward merit, not sweat.

I will definitely be Enforcing again in the future, and I encourage all of you to try it at least once. You’ll be a better person for it, and you’ll make some amazing friends.

  1. cor7ana reblogged this from trinandtonic
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  4. paxpinnae reblogged this from fuckkyeahwilwheaton and added:
    A friend and I have a Word document, developed over many years of conventions, labeled “When We Rule the World.” It is...
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  12. frisky-apple reblogged this from teal-deer and added:
    I have honestly never been so happy to be part of a convention before in my life. I want Pax to be a regular part of my...
  13. winters-discontent reblogged this from wilwheaton and added:
    As an Enforcer, I second this so much. It’s a lot of fun, I met Felicia Day, Nic met Wil Wheaton, I made people’s day...
  14. grisser reblogged this from wilwheaton
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  17. dracoprimus reblogged this from wilwheaton and added:
    In contrast, my wife and daughter were planning on volunteering for ECCC. The tone and instructions from the minion...
  18. buildtehrobots reblogged this from wilwheaton and added:
    This makes me so nervous, but I want to give it a shot.
  19. mintamenapie reblogged this from bejoty and added:
    Bejoty reblogging Rym. Nerdgasm.