Staff Trivia, or How I Got Through the Semester

Some people will groan at the mention of “staff trivia” and that is totally OK. However, it helped get me through the semester–and was a nice little weekly 5-minute distraction from all things pandemic.

Here’s How It Came About
I returned to work at the beginning of September after taking parental leave for a new baby. In the midst of the pandemic, my first duty was to check in with co-workers to see how they were doing. Staff rotate for in-person duty when not working remotely. All meetings moved to virtual-only. Comments from co-workers indicated they missed social interactions, lunch talk, and general chit-chat that was suspended due to social distancing.

How It Operates
At our weekly virtual all-staff meeting (8 daytime staff members), I reserve the last five minutes for a “staff trivia” question to end on a fun note. I generally just ask whatever pops into my head–being careful not to embarrass anyone or pick something that’s too private. I also try to avoid library-related “stuff” (e.g., how many books were checked out this week?) since that’s our job…staff trivia is meant to add some levity.

Hint: Avoid asking questions that other staff members might know (e.g., a lot of them knew my favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Instead, re-phrase the question to: Name a (e.g., any) favorite movie of yours.

  1. I send out the staff trivia question in advance.
  2. Everyone emails me back with their answer.
  3. Then I send a staff email with everyone’s responses (minus names).
  4. People email me back with their guesses on “who said what.”
  5. I tally up the points each week.
  6. At the staff meeting, I share a Powerpoint/Google Slide with everyone’s responses.

The last few minutes of the staff meeting, we share our responses. We’ve all learned new things about each other—even those of us who have been here awhile. At the end of the semester, the person with the most points gets a food delivery gift card (which seems appropriate in these socially distanced times). It is a low-cost, low-stakes activity to keep interaction going. It helped keep us “glued” together in a challenging semester. Below are the questions that I asked. If you have any good trivia questions, let me know!

Staff Trivia Questions

  1. Name a favorite movie of yours.
  2. Name something that you wish your house/apartment had. This could be practical or “big dream.”
  3. Name a place in the United States that you’ve been to that you think…wow, once this pandemic is over, I’d really like to go back!
  4. If you could be any TV character (scripted, animated, etc), who would you pick? Tell me the character and TV show.
  5. Name a TV show that everyone seems to love/loved (can be current or old) that you just never had any desire to watch.
  6. If you could only pick one food item (like a dish, recipe, entrée) to eat the rest of your life, what would it be?
  7. What’s the weirdest or strangest thing you have in your work office or desk drawer?
  8. If you could jet off to a country (once the pandemic is over!) that you have never been to before, what country would you pick?
  9. In an alternate reality or 2nd chance, what career would you choose if there were no limitations?
  10. If you could invite three living “famous” people (however you define it) to dinner, who would you pick?
  11. What is your least favorite “earworm” song? – one that gets stuck in your head and you hate it!
  12. By the time Christmas rolls around, what Christmas song do you NOT WANT TO HEAR for a great while?

PS–If you want to know my answers…
1) My Cousin Vinny 2) Professional landscaping 3) Cannon Beach, Oregon 4) Susie Greene from Curb Your Enthusiasm 5) Game of Thrones 6) Fish tacos 7) Orange safety/traffic vest 8) New Zealand 9) national parks photographer 10) Dolly Parton, Sonia Sotomayor, Amy Sedaris 11) “Mambo No. 5” – Lou Bega 12) “Santa Baby” – Madonna version.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach, Oregon – taken by me!

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