Attending TechEd has been a professional dream (if such things exist) for 5+ years now. As my career evolved, I have found myself becoming less junior in the workplace and more collaborator. As great as this recognition was from my peers, it mean I was reducing the “teachers” available to me: we were all doing the same thing, the same way with the same tools over and over again. Template solutions were being shopped from one client to another. I was finding us all parroting the same answers and solutions for so long that that original reason was no longer valid – at the time none of us knew any better.

To expand my knowledge, I reached out and discovered online community (mostly SCN). This online community allowed me to travel beyond the shores of Australia without the cost of an airfare and time to do so (it’s a big country and takes ages to get to another state let alone another country). I discovered different ways to design and build. I had access to new information and could see products make their way to market. I then started to hear about conferences and meet-ups: some online but so many face to face. TechEd was one of these conferences. My peers would tell me you have to go at least once – it’s worth it!

The authors of the books that I consumed and then regurgitated for my job would be accessible to me. The Product Owners would be at these conferences to show us the next big thing (learn this and you improve your job security). Customers would be onstage telling us what the Product Owners won’t say. Other Consultants out there would be available to meet and make contact with. My new network – online friends – would be there and I could finally have that glass of wine we all talk about.

It’s clear: I must go to TechEd. I want to go there. I must attend. There is so much value to do so. There’s no good reason not to.

T-5. Oooh TechEd is coming up!!!! I have go to. Oh, I just changed jobs and I’m not earning as much as I used to. The GFC has hit and I really should save. Australia is on the other side of the world. That’s a day just to get there. If I go to TechEd I can’t go on that other holiday (which funnily enough I’ve also been talking about for x number of years). I really should save for that rainy day. No TechEd for me this year.

T-4. I couldn’t make it last year. This year HAS to happen. Mmm the house hasn’t sold yet and I really should get ahead of that mortgage – interest rates are terrible and don’t even make me look at my bank account balance. GFC is still hitting home a bit hard. I’m on the bench at work and think if I don’t change jobs soon I might be made redundant. When did I become a responsible adult? That’s okay – there’s always next year. Vegas isn’t going anywhere and Europe looks great too.

T-3. Mmm our relationship is getting pretty serious. That overseas trip I’ve been wanting to do looks like a good holiday for us to take together. Oh thinking about combining our finances and keeping each other honest? Still loving those nice nights out and bottles of wine at $100 a pop? Mm I really should pay off that credit card and start saving. Oh I’ve got go live in November and you have one in December? Yeah I can’t see either of us getting that time out of work – probably better not even ask for time off. And you know, I can’t really justify a week without pay right now. I’m definitely going next year. We can both go next year and continue to travel USA. What a great idea. Next year it is. Game on

T-2 I’m now a Mentor. Heaps of Mentors going. I really should get myself out there. I even have a blue shirt. Just have to book those flights. You’ve got to be kidding me? I have to be in Perth for workshops before Vegas and I’m back in Brisbane the week before Berlin. Last minute flights aren’t cheap. Nope, I promised myself. I have to go this year. Potential-hubby is 100% supportive and happy if I have to go by myself with our holiday fund (hey we combined our 1000+ DVD collection last year so there’s no backing out now). Oh, to make the conference I’ll be spending more time in the plane than I will be at the conference. If only I was in Brisbane the week before Vegas, the flights might line up better (24 hours is better than 30 hours one way). Then there’s jetlag. Do I really want to be at a conference for 3 or 4 days with coffee on an intravenous drip and feeling terrible as I struggle to pay attention and just picture my comfy bed back home? I’ve also go to prepare for these workshops back home. Mm, I do feel a bit bad that I’m spending all this money and future-hubby is stuck at work. Again, when did I become a grown-up? I know I said it last year but next year it’s happening. It has to.

T-1. Right, airlines don’t want heavily pregnant women travelling and being due when TechEd is on isn’t really going to work. Next year… with a 1 year old? Who am I kidding?

Life is what happens when you are making other plans (John Lennon or Reader’s Digest depending on your source)

For those of you who exhausted their excuses and booked their tickets – have a blast. For those who want to attend, you’ve still got time to make that decision: how much do you want to go? For those of you with cankles and sloth-speed, waddling movements where making it to the couch is an achievement who can’t make it in person, there’s always TechEd online and self-convincing line of It’s okay, there’s always next year.

Regards

Colleen

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19 Comments

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  1. Ekaterina Bondarenko

    Right, airlines don’t want heavily pregnant women travelling and being due when TechEd is on isn’t really going to work.

    If a child is born during the flight, airlines often present a free of change flight possibility for a child for many years. One more + to go.

    Of course I would not recommend labour in the plane instead the hospital just for this. 😆

    Next year… with a 1 year old? Who am I kidding?

    Several days without a mum is more tragedy for a mum than for a 1 year old if he/she has another relatives.

    Or you can take you child with you, and he/she would be the youngest TechEd attendee. All you need is a volume soother (google “volume soother photo” and you find the right for you). 🙂

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  2. Susan Keohan

    Hi Colleen,

    Although in your particular circumstances, yeah, you should not go to TechEd this year.  But there are many years to come – we all hope.

    I heartily agree with Ekaterina – I’ve gone to TechEds as a mother of tiny people, and left them home (in the care of somebody of course! ) and they’ve never yet held it against me.  I sobbed on the plane, and probably had some meltdowns at TechEd over missing them, but they are none the wiser.

    So.  I’ll see you next year at the latest.  OK?
    Cheers,
    Sue

    PS: For the rest?  Don’t just dream about all the networking and learning you can get at a TechEd – do it.  It’s not too late.  Or start planning for next year.

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  3. Matt Fraser

    Hmm, up until the “heavily pregnant” part this almost read like the sort of reasoning I went through. Ok, I did get to go to SAPPHIRE this year, so I really can’t complain much, and my travel times aren’t nearly as ridiculous as those coming from Australia — but this sure would have been a neat excuse to see Barcelona. Ah, project schedules, and life happening while making other plans…

    It took me a moment to figure out exactly what “GFC” meant, though from context I understood the general idea. Now I get it. Yeah. That was an impact.

    But, this is it. This is exactly what all of this means for those of us who have been doing this for a while and are — perhaps — a little stuck in a rut doing the same thing, over and over, and are no longer quite sure if what was a best practice when we started is still considered the best practice.

    Besides which, this was just a delightful and humorous read, not least because we can all see a little bit of ourselves in your words. Thank you.

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  4. Steve Rumsby

    Next year. Definitely. In a previous life (before I discovered the wonderful world of SAP 🙂 ) I also travelled while leaving a small person behind. I guess it isn’t quite the same for a father as for a mother, but as Sue said – I’m sure you’d cope and he/she wouldn’t remember. I’ve also done a trans-Atlantic flight with a 1-year-old. It worked better than I expected, actually, although I’m not sure I’d recommend it for TechEd. We could always run a crèche in the Mentor room. If that’s what it takes to get you there…

    Steve.

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  5. Florian Henninger

    Hi Colleen,

    I’m pretty sure your time will come that you attend a teched. Not this year and the next year, but you will.

    Now…*tata* you are pregnant and you need to prepare for your new (additional) job.

    And because you will do it great

    a trip to teched is your reward in two or maybe three years 🙂

    All the best and we try to share as much as possible via twitter with you!

    ~Florian

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  6. Jelena Perfiljeva

    “Happiness is when your kids are healthy, fed, clothed and not home”. I’m very much looking forward to my mini-vacation next week. No worries, we’ll see you in 2016! 🙂

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  7. Steffi Warnecke

    Great, great blog, Colleen! (aren’t yours always?)

    Yeah, like you I’m a member of the “next year” tribe, although I don’t really have so many good excuses. At least this year I almost went… would have gone… if it would have been in Germany again.

    Buuut next year is another chance. And yes… Vegas isn’t going anywhere either. 😎

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    1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

      yep the next year tribe!

      I mainly wrote this for all the others out there like us who really want to go. My lesson – take the chance. If you want something so bad then do it. You have no idea what next year or the year after will hold

      I do hope to attend next year but I’m also being a bit more practical about it as it’s no longer me just taking care of myself and noone else. Maybe I aim for Europe instead and make a holiday out of it 🙂

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      1. Matt Pollicove

        Hey the States can be a holiday, too! 🙂   Bring the husband and the kids! I bring my wife every year I’ve been lucky enough to go and we have a mini vacation before TechEd.  We fly out the Friday before, and as I’m going to my Tuesday session, she’s getting on the plane.  (I know New Jersey is much closer than Australia, but it’s a concept 🙂 )

        TechEd is an amazing opportunity.  I’ve been blessed that my company sends me, and even more blessed that I’ve been asked to speak which helps cut down costs.

        I’m hopeful one day we will all meet at TechEd, somewhere!

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    1. Colleen Hebbert Post author

      now wouldn’t that be brilliant Robbo? Although, I did attempt to put the case forward on one of Steve’s status updates (they are usually longer than a coffee corner thread).

      We almost all settled on Hawaii but realised there’s insufficient accommodation.

      Yes, aiming for 2016. At least I made it to Melbourne this year 🙂

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      1. Steve Rumsby

        TechEd Hawaii *would* be awesome. SITKona, anyone? Not that I could get to it, except in my dreams…

        But TechEd Melbourne (or Sydney, or…) – surely its time has come? 🙂

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  8. Matt Fraser

    +1 to SITkona and TechEd Melbourne! It seems we’re getting enough of a “Down Under” SAP (and Mentor) presence to warrant something, eh? Though doesn’t Australia have something sort of similar annually, but under another name?

    Anyway, I flew to Palo Alto for a SIT, I’d fly to Kona for one….

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    1. Steve Rumsby

      Kona is a very long way from here. I’d still happily make the trip (although perhaps it would need to be for more than a one day SIT!) but I just can’t think of anyone who would fund the trip 🙂 .

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      1. Matt Fraser

        Actually, Kona is a fairly long flight even from Seattle (about the same as flying to New York), but at least it’s a non-stop. Yeah, for a single day does seem a bit much…. but it’s Kona! (Though, if we’re being honest, I actually preferred Hilo, or rather the area around Hilo, but Kona was definitely fun).

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        1. Steve Rumsby

          Kona is a two day trip for me. An overnight on the way out and back-to-back redeyes on the way back. And the jet lag is, er, interesting (10 hours time difference). But, as you say, Kona!

          Hilo is too wet for my taste. Says the Brit:-)

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          1. Matt Fraser

            I got lucky on my Hawaii trip a couple years ago (half a week in Kona-Kailua, half a week in Puna, south of Hilo). In Puna it rained every night, but was clear every day, so we got to really enjoy the lushness of the tropical vegetation, as opposed to all rocky sharp lava in Kona (plus some nice beaches).

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