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Updated on October 24, 2016

Legoland - The Crown Jewel in My Backyard

I consider Legoland the crown jewel in my backyard in terms of employment. It fits many of my temporary work goals for the Sequestration of 2013 (see my first Sequestration hub "The Sequestration Diary: Introduction" linked at the end of this article). It is walking distance from my home. It is becoming well integrated with the community. They offer flexible work schedules. It is an employer that clearly understands its vision and target audience. I was elated to get such a quick online response for an interview.

What is Legoland?

Legoland was formally Cypress Gardens. Cypress Gardens was a water ski theme park and gardens that were developed in the 1930s. Legoland acquired the property and opened for business in October 2011. The water ski park and gardens remained, albeit the water ski show has taken a distinctly Lego theme. Traditional theme park rides and the water park were retained. New rides and large statutues and themes made entirely of legos were added. It has a distinct educational flare targeted for children two to 12 years of age.

The water ski show with a Lego flare.
The water ski show with a Lego flare.

Applying for the Seasonal Usher Position

Legoland has several theaters with live action shows. They needed part-time ushers for spring break and through the summer. It looked like a perfect fit and in less than a week after applying for the position online, I was scheduled for a group interview. In no time at all I found myself at the employee entrance gate with about two dozen other perspective ushers. It was a classic winter day in Florida. The sun was bright and the air was cool with just a slight breeze. There was just a hint of spring in the air and everyone around me looked so ........young. In fact, aside from one woman who looked older than me, I'd say everyone was less than half my age. There were some glaring generational distinctions. I was the only one wearing a tie, the only one with a Day Timer in hand, one of the few wearing a wrist watch, and perhaps the only one who did not text while waiting to be let in for the interview. I felt as if I should have sported a tattoo. Eventually we were given the go ahead and we walked through two gates and into the building holding the interview.

The Group Interview

The interview took over two hours. Most of the time it was conducted as a group and within your respective team of four or five people. It was highly interactive with role playing, group dialogue, and making models. While all this action was going on, various staff were evaluating you by making constant notes on forms held by their clipboards.

One activity caught me totally off-guard. Every job interview asks that sticky question that goes something like this, "What is the main trait that you see yourself bringing to compliment the organization?" I tucked this question mentally away and anticipated it with the one-to-one interview. It came alright, but instead of verbalizing an answer, you had to make a model out of legos that captured your answer. My four teammates dove doubled fisted into the lego bucket placed before us and immediately started assembling their models. The young fellow across from me produced a clever dinosaur in no time and proudly proclaimed, "Dinosaurs are fun and so am I!" Me, I froze and it was obvious. My teammates tried to encourage me, telling me to relax and "Let my imagination run free". Oh no! The Legoland staff were starting to call team members away for their one-on-one interviews - bring your model and explain it. My model was still just a pile of bricks.

In the midst of my angst and mental block, I heard the all too familiar question, "Are you Virginia's husband?" Now, at work I am called Tod, but in the city in which I live I am more often than not called, "Virginia's husband". My wife (Virginia) teaches music at the local college. She also is the musical director for plays there and at the community theater. Suffice to say, a lot of artsy people know her. She told me one of her college students would also be at the interview and that she indeed told the student that I was interviewing too. When the student asked what I looked like, my wife just responded, "Just look for the oldest guy in the room" (the one lady who was probably older than me had come to the wrong interview and left promptly). While trying not to be rude and still struggling with my model, I retorted, "Yes, I am Virginia's husband. She told me that one of here students would be coming." "No! No! That was me!" came a voice from another part of the room. Sure enough, there was yet another of Virginia's student's in the interview. I grunted out a short response, "Small world," and got back to my model. It was none too soon for I was called for my individual interview. I gathered my model, such as it was, and followed behind the interviewer. She led me to an outdoor alcove where we sat in chairs.

My wife and cast members dancing on our dining room table during a post performance party.  These people are self energizing and don't need ushers.
My wife and cast members dancing on our dining room table during a post performance party. These people are self energizing and don't need ushers.

The One-On-One Interview

The interview was rather relaxed. The interviewer gave details about the job, which was about what I envisioned, until she explained how they had more recently changed the job description of ushers. "Originally', she described, 'our ushers were rather stoic - almost like a security officer. We realized that they needed to energize the crowd, to build up the audience for the show and draw attention and support towards the actors. Do you think you can energize a crowd?" My mind flashed back to the many community and college theater cast parties my wife threw at our house. People at these parties are as spontaneous and uninhibited as people can get. They are self energizing. This was the type of person the interviewer was looking for. I replied that I am an introvert at heart, but could get motivated to make the actors look good. "Well then, lets have a look at your model," she replied. I held out my model and realized that it was, well, rather static and stoic. I needed that kid's dinosaur. I explained it as best I could. She seemed to appreciate it. The interviewer said they had interviews for ushers the following day (Thursday) and that on Friday they would make telephone calls to those who were hired. I made sure she had my work phone number (another generational oversight - should have been my cell number). Still, aside from a few minor setbacks, I felt good about the interview. I think in hindsight it was because she was a good interviewer.

Fat Tire beer - you cannot get it in my state, so my cache is reserved for moments of serious reflection.
Fat Tire beer - you cannot get it in my state, so my cache is reserved for moments of serious reflection.

The Call That Never Came

At work on Friday I spent most of the day on top of a windmill tower. A solar pump had gone down and amongst other things, I determined it needed more solar panels to join the existing ones about 20 feet above the ground. When finished, I checked my telephone messages in my office - no messages. I went home and checked the voice messages - none. I asked my wife if anyone had called from Legoland - nope. My wife had a great idea, why not check her two students' Facebook accounts (another generational thing). One student had written nothing, while the second was excited to announce that Legoland had hired her on the spot - did not even finish the interview when they offered her the job. By 6:00 pm I figured the gig was up. There was only one course of action left. I went out into the garage, grabbed a Fat Tire beer from the refrigerator, and started to tie flies. I reflected on what to do next. The next day I made a resume on and applied for two other jobs online. I also realized that the Furlough of 2013 was going to be an odyssey of events and adventures. I decided to record the events on HubPages.


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