My most recent post was about how much I loathe traveling to conferences.
Last night it hit me as to exactly why I dislike them so much. It’s the phoniness. Everyone here is a complete asshat, including me.
When I arrived at the conference hotel, I was greeted by “an old friend” who was sitting in the lobby waiting for his room to be ready. Or so he said. The reality of the situation is that he was hanging out to see who he could glom onto and try to sell. I was effusive in my greeting and showed how happy I was to see him. Again, the reality was far from the impression a viewer would walk away with. I was happy to see him, but I knew immediately that he would have ignored me if a larger target had walked in at the same time. I have to play up my affinity for him, simply because he is important in my chosen industry.
The phoniness continues throughout the conference. Every speaker pretends to be an expert, when in most cases they are just the face of the company, not the true do-ers. Everyone claims to be taking advantage of all of the tools available to them, but most are barely surviving and staying solvent.
Meals are the worst. You’re forced together and have to eat food you wouldn’t serve your dog. Last night we had BBQ tofu. Who eats BBQ tofu? Give me a steak, or at least a decent piece of chicken. Don’t force your weird dietary habits on me please!
The conversation during the meals is always awkward. Nobody wants to say anything controversial or that will give away proprietary secrets. Dull does not adequately describe the conversation. You’re sunk if you accidentally sit at a table with a salesperson. They dominate the conversation and are looking for any way to ingratiate themselves into your company. You’ve just met, but somehow they’ve suddenly become your best friend.
It’s the same at every conference I’ve been to. Why do I keep going? I hate going to conferences, do you?