Midterm Revision Project

Initial Midterm Draft

Evaluation of Adventureland Amusement Park Departments and Employee Profiling
Christina Moawad
4/12/13

Abstract

The research I conducted aimed to uncover the system of communication through the different departments of Adventureland Amusement Park. I used John Swales definition of a discourse, as Adventureland does fit all his criteria. I then describe my different methods of research and draw my findings from the research. I then discuss what the research meant to the communication of the departments, and conclude with a description of what I perceive to be a profile of each department employee. I find value in this project because I predict many of the trends related to employment in Adventureland will also be true with other employment discourse communities. In most workplaces there are going to be a hierarchy of employees and similar behaviors amongst employees. This will be useful to the class because we will all be part of employment discourse communities in the future.

Introduction

Discourse communities tend to seem fairly straightforward to an outsider until that outsider seeks membership. The reason for this is that these communities have regulations and criteria for successful operation. John Swales’ piece of writing offers six distinct dynamics of a discourse community, stating these measures as his definition. I find it effective because it does allow a board array of communities, while simultaneously does permeate invalid communities. I am choosing to use this definition of discourse, as I believe it is “clear cut” and fitting for my purpose in the Adventureland community. Swales’ definition does fit the Adventureland discourse. However, I would like to explore his second point of discourse community having mechanisms of intercommunication among its members, in depth and join it to the miniature discourse communities, which comprises the overall “Adventureland Discourse Community.”

I believe people choose to study discourse community in this method because it gives insight on what it takes to be a part of these communities. If one knows specific reasons of how a certain community functions together, they would know what they have to ultimately do to become an insider. It reveals a set of “un-written rules,” which sets a standard for a group, meant for outsiders seeking membership. My purpose in this study is to uncover this “un-written” set of rules that pertain to the departments of Adventureland. I will be analyzing the difference between these groups and what allows a prospective employee to fit into each specific department. The research I conducted focuses on the personal characteristics necessary for the intercommunication among the members, which are necessary in operation and how these characteristics are found in future employees.

Background Information

Adventureland Amusement park is located in Long Island, New York. The park has been in operation for 51 years and has been family owned and operated since 1962. The park is comprised of six different departments which all co-operate for the greater goal of financial gain and customer satisfaction. The departments include Food, Rides, Games, Ticketbooth, Giftshop and Management.

Methodology

I sent out a Survey Monkey URL, personally and via the Adventureland Facebook page, which was composed of 8 questions designed for various employees at Adventureland. Another form of research I did was on the different packets of orientation manuals given to employees on their orientation days. This document was originally what sparked my interests in the differences between the employees in each department. These writings helped me analyze further into this question. I used the Adventureland employee Facebook page to look deeper into written communication of the park. I enjoyed this part of my research especially because it was informal, raw writing, which gave me easy-to-pull-from data. This section mostly helped me with department-to-department communication. This website gave me a standard to compare internal park writings with, due to the fact that the website was made for outsiders. I concluded much of my data by comparing posts on the Facebook page with website information.

Results

My research from all five categories was not as beneficial as I thought it would be alone, as they were together. Each category seemed strong enough on its own, but when paired up with information gathered from other sources, it confirmed many of my ideas. My start to research began with the survey, which I originally thought would be the strongest source of information, to which I was surprised, was not. The answers to my questions did not come back to be advantageous. The greatest strength received from this survey was being able to compare how employees in the different departments answered each question. I found that employees from the same department answered the questions exactly the same. The strongest response came from the question, “On a scale from one to ten, how important do you think your job is to the operation of the park?” and all ride operators answered with an eight, explaining that they park simply would not function without them.

The orientation manual documents divides into different sections based on each specialized task preformed by each employee. This helps the group members, being employees in this case, by giving them instruction and knowledge to carry out their jobs and tasks. Some results I concluded from this were that the ride operator manuals were much longer and more extensive then the others. This led me to conclude that management is more selective in their hiring of these employees. Also, in each manual, each department emphasizes their own rules. This underlined that each department is specialized and unique, which is important and known through out the other employees.

The information I extrapolated from the Facebook page was more personalized and telling. I believe this is where my most successful results were concluded. The most important thing I noticed from this page was the difference between new and old employees, and their interaction on the page. I was able to pick out exactly which posts were from new employees as they were written with ambivalence and uncertainty. Also, from the Facebook page, I noticed that ride operators are scheduled for work 15 minutes before all other departments, the Ticketbooth department has their own ways of communicating through their own separate Facebook page and that the page contains much more action from new employees.

The website mainly helped me draw results to define where the insider-outsider line was drawn. The site seemed to have everything an outsider needs to know about taking a trip to Adventureland. I also concluded that new employees could uses this website as a learning tool to familiarize themselves with park regulations and information. An important aspect was that most of the park lexis is contained on the website for all to see.

Discussion

The central and most prevalent theme of my research was that the co-functionality of the departments are due to the fact that each department contains strengths and weaknesses that best suit their intended jobs. This is achieved mainly because management is making sure each employee in their department is additive to communication and can easily adapt. In this manor, it is clear that these supervisors have the greatest authority is park regulation. Their use of correct communication is pivotal in the Adventureland discourse community especially since they departments function separately. It is their job to ensure that they “sow” all the departments together. One important way of facilitated this gathering is by the employees that they hire. The characteristics of employees are essential in placing an employee in the best-fit department. I found this subject not only in my personal experience, but my research in all categories has also supported this, as for example, in my survey, employees from the same department answered the questions almost identically and the orientation manuals, the difference in job description is stressed.

If the departments were not operating in different manors, the park would not thrive as it does now. Each group contributes something unique and important to the community, and this variability is important for the intercommunications. In the games department, employees are most similar to each other than any other group in the park. They all are energetic and enthusiastic about their jobs, as that is what this job requires. Many of them would say they would do their job without pay and that they simply love doing it. This is definitely one department not for everyone. Ride operator employees seem to be most important to the customers of Adventureland, and so in the hiring process they look for employees with great people skills, which most of them have. These employees are most responsible and take their job most seriously, as their rules are much more stringent. Ticketbooth employees in this department tend to stick to themselves. Many employees at the park don’t interact with these workers because their job entails different things that outside workers. These workers are very experienced and detailed as they deal with people and money at the same time! Workers at the food stands, tend to notice, are the most laid back. Although this is not an easy job, for many it is fun! Most love working in this area. They work with their friends and have the least rigid rules because they are allowed, or rather have to, talk on the job. Giftshop workers are a mix of what it takes to be a games employee and a Ticketbooth employee. They are “people persons” and must be comfortable with sales. Along with games, these employees are the youngest bunch in the park.

Recommendations and Conclusion

Further recommendations for the analysis of Adventureland would include a look a Swales’ first point about a shared public goal. Future investigation can be done on what factors make this goal possible and what are the most important things necessary for the goal. A great question to answer would be, “What makes a group like this successful?” This type of question is useful because any business would find it beneficial to find out what is working in their community and what is not, and also why things are successful.

Swales, John. "The Concept of Discourse Community." Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990.(21-32). Print.

Revision Proposal

1. Audience

The intended audience for my revised midterm project is going to be parents or advisors of high school students looking for a summer job. I will be giving my advice on why a summer job is a great idea for these students. I will describe the various skills and attributes a student can adapt from a summer job at Adventureland specifically, and how it can pertain to their life’s after the job is over. I will use some of the findings from my initial report to base my blog post on.  To narrow down my findings, I will only focus on the ticket booth, games, food and rides departments. The audience would be interested in what I have to say about this topic because I have done thorough research of this discourse community, and have primary experience with it myself. I believe I am a good candidate to give my opinions on this matter, as I went through the same process as the high school students I am targeting. If the audience can successfully understand my point, and acknowledge my advice, they will potentially have their respective students or children partake in a job like Adventureland.

2. Key Questions

Three important questions to be answered for my audience:

1. What types of skills can be learned from a job at Adventureland?
2. How do these skills apply to their future jobs or aspects of their life?
3. Why is it important to be exposed to a job early in life?

3. Writerly Challenges and Concrete Goals

Goal #1- Remove ALL mechanical errors from my writing
The first goal I am setting for my self is something I have been trying to work on since high school. This has always been a challenge in my writing, even after proof reading multiple times, I still manage to overlook one or two typos in my work. This is a valuable goal for me because it will have an impact on all future assignments. If I achieve this goal I imagine my writing to portray a more professional and credible realm to my reader, and will give the audience a better impression of me as a writer. If I do not achieve this goal it will show lack of time put into my work, as this is not a difficult task, but instead, a detailed assignment.

Goal #2- Pick a weak point in my original draft and perfect it
Usually through revision processes I become overwhelmed when I think of all the weak aspects, and open ends of my initial draft. With this revision I want to make a specific point to focus on just one element of my writing that was particularly weak in the first draft and see how I can improve that section. Based on peer-review and conferences, I am choosing to clarify the ideas brought up in my discussion, as most readers said this was a problem area in my midterm. I want to refine the information in the discussion to be prompt and clear in this draft to eliminate the original confusion. If I can achieve this goal I think it will make my piece more adaptable and relatable to the reader because they will be able to follow my thoughts easier. If I do not achieve this goal, the revision will look much like the original, defeating the purpose of my revision. 

Goal #3- Format my piece clearly with appropriate title and sub-titles

As there is a lot I want to answer in my piece, I want to be able to do this in an organized and clear manner. Also, I want to have a clear page layout, as the more organized it is, the clearer the message is for the reader. This is valuable because I will need to master the topic of formatting and organization in future pieces of writing. If I do achieve this goal, it will make my article easy to follow for the reader, and if not, it will confuse the reader and complicate my writing. 

4. Genre Model

http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/energy-efficient-landscaping-utility-bills

This blog post model is similar to what I envision my blog post to be. The model shows a title, introduction, break down of information with sub-titles, and a conclusion. Specifically, I am aiming to use sub-titles in a similar fashion as the author demonstrated in this pieces. She used questions as her sub-titles, and I think this may be a feasible way to organize my own piece, as there are three main questions I hope to answer in my blog post.

New Revised Piece

What Can a High School Student Learn from a Summer Job at Adventureland?

Your “first job” can teach you a great deal about the workplace, much of which you will end up using as an adult. Personally my first job at Adventureland Amusement Park in Long Island, New York has influenced not only my current job but also different aspects of my life. In the midst of working food stands and ringing up customers were important life lessons about professional policy, customer service and working with a supervisor. These skills, I soon realized were extremely valuable to future success, and the earlier I learned them, the better employee I became.
Those who understand the importance of workplace protocol, as I did in my first summer job, have a distinct advantage in life. To obtain these essential skills as a teenager is imperative as the earlier they begin to develop these skills, the more prepared they will be for their own future jobs. Mastering them early gives you an advantage to stand out as an applicant for future jobs. There is no better way to learn these things then first-hand authentic experience. Simply put, youth without this advantage can expect hindrances in finding occupations and find themselves confound to lower wage jobs which can mean all the difference for the foundation of their future.

I believe through both experience and research that a place like Adventureland provides these necessary and crucial experiences and skills. For my research, I gathered data from a Survey Monkey URL that I sent via the Adventureland Facebook page to employees. It was composed of eight questions, designed for various employees at Adventureland. I sent the survey in hopes of dissecting differences among traits required by employee members. I also analyzed orientation manuals given to employees on their orientation day. This document was originally what sparked my interest in the differences between the employees in each department, and what kinds of attributes they will assimilate. These writings helped me to further analyze this question. I used the Adventureland employee Facebook page to look deeper into written communication of the park. This section mostly assisted me with department-to-department communication. The park website gave me a standard to compare internal park writings which was due to the fact that the website was made for outsiders. I concluded much of my data by comparing posts on the Facebook page with website information.

So what did I find? Each group contributes something unique and important to the community as a whole, and employees in different departments seem to obtain distinctive skills and characteristics. The variety in different tasks among the employees allows each employee to learn useable, unique and productive skills. These attributes will remain something important for their entire lives. The fact of the matter is, by exposing students to these positions during their summer break, they will inherit the following benefits.

GAMES

Employees in the games department are energetic and enthusiastic about their jobs, as that is what this job requires. They are required to have ongoing conversations with guest, while keeping them entertained and satisfied. Some of the key proficiencies they acquire from working this job are verbal communications skills and problem solving abilities. These are both very necessary skills for the future as both will be a part of any impending jobs. Also, in this job, an employee is able to see the payoff of their work, as customers they serve will often leave cheerful due to the interaction the employee provided. This sense of achievement is great for a high school student to experience, as they can later apply this notion to something specifically like community service opportunities they may have in high school or college.

RIDES

Ride operator employees seem to be most important to the customers of Adventureland. Employees who take on this difficult task discover impromptu interaction skills. Ride operators are responsible for following stringent rules, and face vast consequences if not applied. They will learn proficiencies of responsibility from this job, and also, the meaning of accountability. If their job is not done correct, they will have to face the foretold penalties. This too is a great lesson for high school students especially because it can apply to school assignments. If they can learn a skill like this in the summer of high school, it will set them up for success for not only those years, but also giving them a secure groundwork for their college years.

TICKETBOOTH

Ticketbooth employees in this department tend to have great multi-tasking abilities. They are required to be liable for large amounts of cash, communicating with customers, and answering phone calls all at once. These workers are very experienced and detailed as they interact with people and money at the same time. The skills they learn here are valuable in any kind of business they wish to pursue in the future. A specific example of which multitasking can be useful is for sealing a job position. Often, job interviewers look for this skill, as it says a plethora about what type of a worker they will be. Someone who is known to master this skill will more likely receive a job offer because the individual will get more tasks completed, more efficiently.

FOOD STANDS

Workers at the food stands are usually great under pressure. On hot summer days, lines at an Adventureland can be continuous for hours, and the employees need to be able to handle the stress and high-intensity of the job. They will develop attributes like determination and fortitude. This will give them a concept of what it means to be a hard worker. This mentality is a great life lesson not only for a summer job, but lesson to be nurtured for every aspect of life. A hard worker is one who reaps the benefits, and the earlier a student learns this, the more success they will achieve.

No matter what task they will be completing, or what department they will be a part of, the lessons a student will learn from a summer job will be precious in the long run. The exposure to the workplace as early as possible will solidify these skills and assist for a firm foundation to build upon. Overall, they will be able to excel in things like job interviews, co-worker interactions and communications, and professionalism. Adventureland Amusement Park is an excellent first step for high school students for the development of these supreme and pivotal proficiencies.

Revision Self-Assessment

My Process

The final piece I have turned in for my portfolio, I can safely say, looks nothing like the draft I brought into the peer review session.  Writing that preliminary draft, I thought I understood the direction I was taking, and believed that I could carry out that task in a cohesive manor. After reading the piece out loud to my peers, I had realized exactly what I was having issues detecting this semester. My piece sounded great as an idea, but I was not carrying out my ideas thoroughly. I began questioning my revision, and by the end of the class period, I had changed my revision path a complete 180 degrees. At first I was extremely ambivalent about my new plans but after thinking through my ideas, and consulting my professor and peers about my new plans, I was sure it would be the best route. This process helped me experience the true side of trouble-shooting in writing. I learned that when something does not work out, it is OK, and even though you produce an entire draft you may think is final, you might only end up using two sentences from it for the next draft. This assignment was my first experience with this, and I consider it a great triumph that I can now look at my drafts and accept this. 

A specific reason for my shift in revision was due to problems concerning my audience. I have originally written the revision with the audience being high school students themselves, and conveying my advise to them. I then realized that the style and type of information I was relaying did not exactly pinpoint high school students. The problem arose when my professor helped me realize that the language and necessary information did not coincide with the attentions and interests of high school students. By finding a more appropriate audience for my piece, I was then able to construct a significantly more informative, conducive, and applicable piece. The blog post I composed now contains valuable information that directly pertains to my audience, instead of giving information to a group of people that did not match. This was a real writing challenge that I faced, and I am glad to have successfully found the problem and combatted it with a solution. Through this specific challenge, I see growth in myself for beginning to recognize these problems.

Successful Writing Choices 

I see great success in the introduction aspect of my revision. For my piece, I see “success” as being able to transform my initial ideas of my proposal into a functional piece of writing with a purpose. For example, I made a specific point to expand my reasoning and provide enough information as a possible before introducing specific points in my writing. I was given feedback about the notable introduction I had in my original midterm, and I wanted to make sure I carried this aspect into my new revision. I also find it successful that I comprised a plan in my proposal, and very closely followed it. I am proud that I was able to compose a plausible plan that was well thought out. I believe because I did begin the revision with a thorough blueprint, I was able to go beyond what I originally thought I was capable of. Through the process, I found that the proposal was the most crucial part for the complete composition of my revision. This was definitely a productive approach that I have now discovered helped me map out my thoughts in the most effective manner. I have discovered that composing a project proposal for future assignments, even if not required, will help my arrangement of thoughts. I also find that answering questions in divided sections help me to develop my thoughts further, and so the proposal format is a great way for me to do this.

Least Successful Writing Choices

One of the less successful approaches I took in this piece was the insertion of the subtitles. I originally thought that by dividing my advice into separate job categories would be a useful idea. Looking back on it, this may not have been a great idea because it disconnected the sections from the other job categories. I think when making my proposal and think about my revision, I got over consumed with the notion of making my piece as organized as possible. Also, in the proposal I noted that I wanted to use questions as subtitles. I choose against this because I thought that breakdown would be more confusing, which is why I went with the department subtitles. I do think that if I have comprised everything together in a flowing manner, the piece would not have suffered in clarity as much as I originally thought it would have. If I were given more time, I would delete my sub-titles and comprise  the writing as one, continuous piece. Also, another less successful aspect that I noticed while reading through was that I give great examples in some places, but fail to tie them to the greater picture. For example, I did this in the games section when I mention community service. I think the example in itself was a great point to bring up but looking back on it, I probably could have expanded this more. I could have given more specifics of a type of community service that has similar characteristics required. If I were given more time, I would go back into my examples and make sure they are strongly tied into my main point.

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