Awkward Tater’s Conference Report

Last week I wrote about being awkward and attending conference. I am now back from the conference and thought I would report back on how I did with the social aspect.

When I arrived at the conference and headed into the keynote speaker, I hovered a bit while talking to someone I knew while waiting to see who was arriving and where they were sitting. I use the same strategy when I attend our all day staff development day for work. It’s always a mistake to sit and just go with the luck of the draw with who sits next to you. I can be a disaster. I did resist the impulse to go sit with the people from my library system, but it didn’t matter as I didn’t really talk to the handful of people who sat at my table. After the keynote, I attended the welcome reception. I found my friend from my branch and mostly talked to her and her husband, but I did venture over to talk to the conference chair who I know from working on the committee in the past. I did not succeed in mingling more than that.

The next morning I was up early to work the registration table. It gives me the opportunity to see everyone as they check in, but not an opportunity to really talk to people.  I did have a short conversation with a couple of the people working with me and found a new coffee place to try while in town. Most of the rest of the day was spent in sessions and didn’t leave a lot of time to talk to people. I did chat with someone I know from previous conferences while in line at the bar and someone I have talked to via email about a project I’m working on. My pub quiz team was full of people I already knew.

Not much to say about the last day. Someone I worked with on a statewide committee years ago happened to sit at my table at the closing keynote and we said hello. That was about it.

I didn’t talk to anyone who could have any impact on my career. There were several CEO’s there, but never the opportunity to say more than hello as we walked past each other. I did better about talking to people I met before but didn’t really make an effort to meet new people. I have an even bigger challenge with this next month when I go to a national conference in DC.  It will be harder to only talk to people with whom I already have a connection. It’s either reach out or stay quiet.

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Postus Interruptus

I was a few sentences in to a post this morning about feeling residual anxiety from a dream last night and how that is rare for me. I was already struggling to get the wording the way I wanted when there was a knock at the door. As I mentioned earlier in Destruction Day, are master bath is being renovated. The knock at the door was the person who is doing the renovation ready to start the day.  I am not going to attempt to restart the interrupted post(It wasn’t that great anyway) so instead I will just post some stray observations from my conference I attended last week:

I was spoiled that last two years at conference with multiple people from my system attending. I didn’t have to worry about eating alone or trying to join a random pub quiz team. This year went back to the old ways of me being one of only two non-admin employees at the conference. I did go to dinner once with people from work, but I had more times when I was eating alone. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about pub quiz. Two people from work showed up(including our new CEO) and I found people I played with last year.

I always struggle with mingling and networking at conferences. I’m really bad at it and, if given a choice, will eat alone if no friends are there and spend time alone in my room. This year, I made an attempt to spend more time actually talking to people instead. I’m not sure if those people appreciated me talking to them, but I feel good about my attempts to be a normal person.

I finally won a raffle in the vendor area after 20 some years of attending the conference. Multiple bottles of wine were won and then my ticket was drawn when they were giving away three childrens books. Even when I win, I am a loser.

Every time I leave the conference I feel like I’m ready to make a leap and do something new with my career. I never do. Even though I was better at talking to people this year I will not use it to try to move ahead in my career. I will continue to work for the same place in the same job until I retire. I do try to take back what I learn and use it in my job, so the conference does make me better at my job. I will never be the person who has the ability to use networking opportunities for career advancement.  So, sorry coworkers, you are stuck with me.