Last weekend was another example of wishing I could be in two places at once. I was originally going to be attending the Good Vibrations “Sex Summit”, a day-long conference featuring some of the most coveted educators and activists in the field. It seems that almost every weekend, across the USA, there is some sort of sexuality related event. For most people, getting to all the desired events is completely unrealistic although it’s fun to dream! Sometimes though, those dreams can have a slightly bitter taste.
It’s hard to feel like you’re being left out and left behind, and with the ‘gift’ of social media we can both hungrily eat up the tid-bits of info in 140 characters on twitter and/or be reminded of what you’re missing out on. It depends on how you look at it. Through social media we can be there in spirit by engaging with people that are attending the event. For the more academic/activism events there tends to be a lot of live tweeting using the appropriate #hashtag so you can follow along as people tweet the condensed version of what they’re hearing. Sometimes though that’s not enough and the anxiety starts to set in. What’s going on without me? Am I missing some crucial networking or spontaneous interaction that might lead me farther along my path or create an opportunity for collaboration? Is it fun? Missing out on the social aspect is almost as bad as missing the panels and presentations.
So it can be much like a flash back of the experience of not being invited to birthday parties or being out of town for a special school dance. Basically a total bummer.
But there is a silver lining. Events are slowly starting to record the presentations to be posted online for those that couldn’t attend. Also, many of the presenters are involved in a handful of events so there might be another opportunity to meet & network with the sexually progressive professionals. Since there are so many events you can choose judiciously according to professional benefit, budget and other logistics. Don’t let the feelings of frantic desire to be everywhere at once dilute the effectiveness of events that you can actually attend. It can be costly and inconvenient to travel the country trying to make your presence known at every possible opportunity. So be strategic about your event attendance. The adage ‘leave em wanting more’ can also apply in this situation. The balance is being at the most important events for you to build your brand and make an impact on your colleagues without feeling like you have to be everywhere all the time to do that.
Spreading yourself to thin can be incredibly detrimental to your career by putting a little bit of attention on to many tasks or goals. Focusing on the events that will give you the most bang for your buck go at the top of the list, after that the ‘maybe’ events followed by the events that are unlikely but you dream about going (dreams are important, even if not immediately finished) and perhaps switch out your choices occasionally to include somewhere new.
So yes, it can be lousy to ‘miss out’ on an industry event, but the best thing about having all these events is that there’s always another one around the corner!