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By Catella of Cilicia
Features Reporter, PI

“Time for a water break!”
The blood, sweat, and tears of Pennsic preparation and even tear down are unarguably exhausting. Whether setting up camp or digging ditches, whether cooking meals or going topside for materials, precious energy is all too commonly lost in the battle against the Dragon of Immense Effort.
The Pennsic Independent has breaking news on said dragon battle, though: Did you know the Dragon of Immense Effort can be a multiplayer fight? That’s right! No need to go it alone, consider hiring a Minion!
Facebook groups such as Pennsic War Minion Union (PWMU) and SCA Maids and Valets are examples of increasingly popular online spaces where Pennsic goers/workers “Minions” can find work and those hiring can find workers.
PWMU was founded in 2014 by friends Shelby and Joe, who were looking to create a better, more effective collective resource for finding work at Pennsic.
“[It started] as a way to organize our friends and a few interested Minions to more easily find work/provide help and to [ensure] Minions were treated a little better,” Shelby says.
Shelby also notes that one of the biggest changes they’ve encountered in the past 4 years is significant group growth. With consistent additions to the group, there are fundamental yet functional changes to the group:
“Now that it’s so much bigger, micromanaging it in the ways we were before isn’t as possible anymore,” Shelby says.
While the admin team can no longer closely coordinate matching workers to those needing work, the group now runs fairly autonomously with both Minions and hirers seeking and finding their own matches. Despite taking a step back from facilitating direct connections, group administrators continue to remain watchful and provide guidance and moderation.
When asked about the potential problems the group has encountered, Shelby says that in general, the group has fared surprisingly well.
“Not many problems, considering. Generally just providing a place for people to seek out Minions/work has done us well. We have a handful of unhappy customers and Minions, but you always will.”
As a Minion group co-creator and an administrator for four years, Shelby has experience enough to provide ample words of advice for those on either side of the working fence:
“The only things I would like [to mention] on both sides are these: … Minions are people. Provide them with water and pay them their due, please. And to the Minions, for all the love of all that is decent, arrange for your pay before work. Do not renegotiate after.”
If you’re looking to have more positive experiences with your hired Minions, here’s additional insights from Shelby:
Be honest about how many people you need to assist you.
State your pay rate clearly and honestly.
Clearly convey your location, camp, or booth, as well as your on-site arrival time.
Leave reliable contact information with your Minion.
Don’t downplay how much you need. Be honest and explain exactly what you need.
Be on time, where you’ll say you’ll be, and when.

Whether you physically cannot perform a task, have overbooked yourself, or just need another pair of hands, don’t go it alone if you don’t have to. Seek out the Minions seeking you. On the flip side, if you’re looking for work, tag in for the battle by using the groups on Facebook as powerful resources to connect you to someone who could use your assistance.
Ready to find/get done with that exhausting Pennsic labor? You can find the Pennsic War Minion Union at http://www.facebook.com/groups/1533580776858888.
If you’re looking for minion assistance across other events (but also Pennsic!), you can find SCA Maids and Valets online at http://www.facebook.com/groups/151012534924224.
Note: to gain entrance on either groups, answer the questions that pop up after clicking the “Join Group” button just beneath the large header image. These questions are not in to discourage membership, but to keep out bots and advertisers.
You’ve got the weapons. Now armor up, and with a Minion beside you, show the Dragon of Immense Effort who’s boss!