14 March 2013

Thankful for Conferences

I've never attended a blogging conference and I don't see myself doing so in the near future. Not because I don't want to, just because it is not a priority for me at the moment. Between three young MissyMoos, work and not living in a capital city, blogging conferences just aren't on my radar.

But, March is silly season for lawyer's conferences and seminars. You see, lawyers wishing to maintain a current practising certificate in New South Wales need to complete 10 points of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) each year which equates to 10 hours of seminars (there are other ways of making up the points but I won't go into that here). The 12 month period we have to do this in runs from 1 April to 30 March. So come March, lawyers all over the state are looking at their CLE records, scratching their heads and madly registering for and attending anything relevant to their areas of practice.

That's me. With four points already up my sleeve from November (go me!), I entered March with six to go. Three were obtained yesterday and a further three will be earned next week. Yesterday I drove to Sydney, making the absolute most of a long drive in an empty car, turning up the radio and belting out quite a few tunes in blissful anonymity.



But I digress.

From my reading of all the excitement in the lead-up to DPCON13 and my observation from the sidelines of DPCON12 (i.e. reading Facebook and Twitter updates), conferences of the blogging variety look to be exciting, interesting and, above all, social events - full of life, colour and chatter. A lawyer's conference generally isn't. Especially when you go alone. Perhaps it's because law stuff is my work and blogging is my fun, but what I saw yesterday was in almost comedic contrast to pictures I've seen of blogging conferences.

Picture this: tables lined up in neat rows covered in navy blue, men in black suits and ... silence.

(In fairness, there were a few women there - a couple of us even ventured to wear colourful clothing - but despite the research which keeps telling us that female law graduates outnumber their male counterparts, these affairs still seem to be fairly male dominated.)

I'm not sure if it's a Sydney thing, or a lawyer thing, or a Sydney lawyer thing, but there it was. In the 10 minutes prior to the seminar, there were 30 people in a room and ... not a sound. No eye contact, no greetings, just the occasional beeping of a smart phone and clinking of coffee cup to saucer.




We're a serious bunch.

I must say though, first impressions, the commute and the pounding headache I had at the end of the day aside, I am thankful I was able to go to this particular CLE session. As with anything, if the content is interesting, the speakers are of a high quality and the mode of presentation is engaging (I'm not talking dancing on tables and wearing silly hats here, just keeping me awake will suffice!), then it ticks all the boxes.

For me personally, going to lawyer conferences is highly inconvenient. There is a lot of juggling involved with the MissyMoos and, frankly, I don't like disruption to our routine, which is hectic enough already for me. Essentially, I go because I have to. But sometimes, when all those boxes are ticked, I find that I get a lot more out of attendance than just CLE points. Due to the location of my work and the type of work I do, I am geographically removed from a lot of the "experts". Going to conferences exposes me to highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioners who impart their knowledge with ease (usually). Sometimes, I can learn plenty just from some of their aside comments, let alone their actual presentations.

So I'm thankful that I get the opportunity to go to these things from time to time, to learn new things and to see things from a different perspective. I'm thankful that I don't feel like a complete dodo and actually understand some of what they're on about, which tells me I'm becoming more experienced and knowledgeable over time. I'm thankful that I'm so well supported at home and at work - otherwise it would just be impossible to go. I'm also thankful for the quietness of home - a day in Sydney really makes me appreciate it all the more!


Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:


12 comments:

  1. I never enjoyed the conference circuit much when I used to go back in my more professional days. I hate networking. I especially hate networking while trying to hold a cup of coffee and a Danish. I suspect I'd have a lot of fun and learn a whole lot more at a blogger conference though than I did at many of the academic conferences I've been to! I wonder if that's because amongst bloggers it's a lot easier to be yourself? And it's socially acceptable to mention your kids. Good on you for making the effort though. I know how hard the juggling act must be with 3 little people in the picture.

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    1. It really is tricky, especially not living in a capital city when I do "capital city" type work.

      I'm not much of a networker at these things either. I think you've hit the nail on the head with the bloggy thing. Our blogs are personal, so it's natural to be ourselves...

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  2. Ive never been to any conference. Id love to go to the big blogger ones but the budget wont allow it. I dont really like being in a room full of strangers so wouldnt cope very well with what you have described. Id be so nervous! It is great that you get so much out of them though! Great seeing you here again xxxxxxx

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    1. Yes, the good thing about the work ones is that work pays! It'd take me 100 years to earn enough on my blog to pay for a conference ticket! Thanks for hosting Leigh :-)

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  3. Reading about your CLE reminds me of the CME points for us doctors. I was not much of a conference person either but looking at at how our fellow parent bloggers speak of the DPCON does make it sound like a lot of fun! Hope you dont have to attend any more of this for the year! :) OR if you do hope you get a lot out of them!

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    1. Thanks!

      One more to go and then thankfully that will be it for this 12-month period. I'm hoping the next one should be good actually - it certainly sounds right up my alley :-)

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  4. Yeah I can't imagine any conference would be quite as much fun am blogging conference!
    When it's silent like that, did it make you want to say something really stupid to break the silence? I think that's what I would be tempted to do :)

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    1. Oh Jess, I'm the opposite, I just want to melt into the walls! I bit on my mint and I thought everyone was going to turn around. I still feel like a junior at these things because of so many years out of the game having babies, so my confidence isn't that high.

      When's DPCON13? I'm in Sydney again Tuesday for a different thing - might be there at the same time!

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  5. I'm not going either - too poor at present but next year...as for work conferences - shoot me now!!

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    1. Haha, oh why must we do these things?!

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  6. I used to go to a lot of sales conferences and at first they were so much fun and novel. Then it just all got to be a bit of a chore and a bore.
    Can't wait for DPCON13, though. I just love catching up with everyone!

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    1. Bummed I'm missing out Grace, have an extra cuppa for me xx

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