I stepped down as head of Marketing for WorldCon 2012 (Chicon 7) today.
I'm not going to lie, it hurts…a lot. I have not been this excited to work on something in a while. Penguicon was the next closest, but this was going to be epic (to continue to abuse an already far-too-abused word). The plans we had and the buy-in from everyone involved was amazing and—it's just ridiculously hard to wash my hands of all of it. Add to my mixed emotions the fact that I am letting down individuals for whom I have (or in some cases, had) great professional respect, and it has been a rough decision making week for me. At the end of the day, though, I feel like I made the right decision. I did what had to be done.
I cannot really get into the “Why” of the matter…the vast majority of it is of a personal nature, and not my personal business, so I have to tread carefully. Suffice to say that the personal issues of a pair of the members of convention leadership are sufficiently out of control that the juggernaut that they have created has, in turn, created two implacable artifacts:
It was directly interfering with the ability of my chosen staff to do its job.
The person who was appointed my second was perfect for the job in a ridiculous way. She is task oriented, focused, organized, local to the Chicago scene, willing to pester me when I'm not hitting my deadlines, and totally immune to my less than polite manner of speaking. So spot on, was she, that I desperately need to find a way to get her in my employ in some other way. She was also completely (and personally) abhorrent to one of the vice chairs, and so, had to go (or, after a lengthy process involving far more grief than I have the stomach for in a professional endeavor, had to be hamstrung in such a way as to make her unable to do the job in any but the most superficial way). Personal conflict far outranked qualification or the con's needs, and here's where we end up.
It is creating an awkward environment in the con.
When I first was considering getting involved, I asked around and heard that perhaps this particular year was best given a miss…that it was a bit uncomfortable. In bringing on staff, I was told a time or two that this year was best avoided. Frankly, having seen it up close, I regret that I didn't pay heed. This is a balloon that is straining to pop. I suppose I should consider it something of a blessing that my edge of the explosion happened before I'd invested too terribly much time and energy, but it still stings to be caught in it.
The result of those artifacts is that I just cannot fathom continuing to funnel my limited time and energy into the con. I genuinely wish Chicon 7 well, and hope that the staff can put things together and throw a hell of a convention. There's a lot of exciting stuff going on there, and whether or not I'm working for the convention, I am really looking forward to it; I just can't be a part of it and I wince when I see the way it leans off the rails as it corners.