What I learned at MLA when not in a session

I still suck at networking – I’m just never going to be someone who is comfortable approaching and chatting with people I don’t know. I do fine if approached, but being a nobody, I’m never approached. So, I still stand to the side alone for the most part unless someone I actually know arrives and talks to me.

People have no awareness of their surroundings – I see this everywhere, but it is highlighted at a conference with hundreds of people. Groups congregate in the middle of the hall, in doorways, etc. with no apparent awareness that they are impeding the rest of the attendees from getting to where they need to go.

Librarians don’t want to be challenged at pub quiz – it doesn’t matter who writes the questions, if they don’t know the answer they will cry that they are too hard. They only want questions that are easy.

Librarians love crap – the prize table after pub quiz was swarmed with people taking extra prizes. I’m glad they did. I didn’t want to carry it all home, but I stood there for a long time waiting for a few people to pick over the ARCS before I could pack up and go to my room.

I’m best suited for behind the scenes, but still sometimes long for a spotlight – I am a behind the scenes kind of guy. I’m good at writing questions and collecting prizes for pub quiz, but would be really bad at being an Emcee at the event. I’m good at planning and PR for events, but bad at being the face of the event. Really, who would want the face of their event/organization to be one that rarely smiles? But, I still long for being recognized for the work I do and a bigger role in the leadership even though I’m not good in the spotlight

It’s OK to sit in your room alone watching Survivor – I was perfectly content to go to my room after dinner to watch TV and read a book. I didn’t need a manufactured social event forcing me to try to talk to people I didn’t know. I still think those events are good to have for other people, but alone time was nice.

I also learned a lot in sessions, but the conference is about more than what you learn in the organized learning sessions.


2 thoughts on “What I learned at MLA when not in a session

  1. I completely identify with those first paragraphs, maybe in a different way though. I don’t know if it is because I’m a pretty extreme introvert–in the sense that human interaction just completely drains my batteries, not as in I’m shy, I just find people exhausting–or if I just am overly observant and critical. I’m constantly filling my brain with “if I stand in X spot and someone comes from Y direction their elbow may rub mine and so I should shift 3.5 inches to my left…” Mid conversation I’m thinking these things! Meanwhile wishing to god they could just say all of this in an email instead. When I see someone else not being a complete social OCD mental case like me, I find myself annoyed with them for no good reason. It’s seriously disturbing.


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