June 16, 2015 7 Comments
One day, a friend called and suggested I should attend this brilliant conference, which was dealing with some very important issues. It sounded as if it was the best thing since sliced bread and useful too.
So I enquired, “why is it useful?”
“There are so many important people attending this event.”
“I do not want to meet these important people!”
“That’s your problem. You will never get anywhere without networking. Ok, then at least have the goodness to do your duty.”
“My duty?” Astonishment in look and tone. 😮
“Yes, you have been lucky to accumulate experience. It is incumbent upon you, that it is passed on to those who are still learning and need a helping hand.”
That was it! This is the moment when suckers are born. Sigh! I ended up saying “yes”.
Next thing I know, Mr X calls. Reluctantly, I listened to a gush of enthused statements, about a topic I was not interested in. AND agreed to speak at it and made all the right noises. After all, I owed society!
Skechy details notwithstanding, I arrived at the conference. It was all suited, booted individuals, alongwith volunteers from the local universities. Some of these faces seemed familiar, or maybe faces like them. It was dejavu! I had been here before. Luckily, a few attendees were people one personally knew. Throw in a couple of old colleagues and bosses, and I did not feel totally out of place.
The conference commencement was inevitably delayed and the technology also failed at crucial moments; so it was not clear sailing. In came our competitors CEO. Now, I really could not walk away from this event. They were even one of the many sponsors of the event. I definitely felt quite a bit better, at this stage. The competitor CEO made the key note speech. All I could do was smile, as he was saying similar words to what I might have said. They had actually paid money to convey their inane message. When I looked around it felt even better. Almost everyone in the audience was already glassy eyed and the clapping was slow and low intensity. It had not gone past 10.30 and they had lost the audience. Then a grand lady took the stage and gave a speech. Soon she was complaining that her own voice feed, via the mic, was interfering with her delivery. The whole thing was really quite entertaining in its buffoonery and lack of quality.
Finally, I did get my hour in the sun on the stage, to add my own two bits to this cocktail. Nothing special to add. I am fascinated that for such simple words and ideas, people have paid a conference fees or companies have provided sponsorship. My part came to an end. Phew! Great relief. I slipped out quietly, but alas was accosted by the event manager. He wanted to know whether I enjoyed the day. Gosh! I glared at him and slipped out. What a wasted day.
That this has happened to me a dozen times these past few years, is the sad truth. My own weakness and fault. These conferences are frequented by people, who wish to pass on their experience, which only makes sense within the context of their circumstances. Its impossible to convey the importance of such actions in meaningful words, when there is no connect to the context of those actions. So we get an endless stream of conferences, where audiences listen to what must be French, get bored, and time is wasted.
My resolution once more. Never to waste my time at these places. Till the next time when I am unable to say no.