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 I was finding us all parroting the same answers and solutions for so long that that original reason was no longer valid – at the time none of us knew any better.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.