One of the nice things I was told this year while we were doing our team future planning was that we were going to be given individual training budgets of about 1000euros/1000pounds. We could use it on whatever we wanted as long as it relatively related to our work and the benefit could be seen. This could be used for things like conferences (and the appropriate travel, boarding, etc necessary for such conferences), trainings or classes of any kinds, mentorships, etc. You name it and get it approved, you go for it.
So, when the opportunity to potentially go somewhere else (of my choosing), came about, the possibilities exploded in front of me. Where could I potentially go for several days on a 1000pound budget (including conference fees, of course)? Oh the possibilities!
Of course there was also a lot of awesome stuff going on in London as well, so this was going to be a hard bunch of decisions. I wanted to get as much bang for my buck as possible, which meant, if possible, several trainings/conferences/things. Yes, multiple uses for my monies.
And so, I did a little research. And had opportunities presented to me by my manager. And so, without further ado, this looks like my conference schedule for this year:
CHI 2013 (Computer-Human-Interaction) - Paris
Oh yes that's right, the dorks all coming together in Paris at the end of April. Seems like a good place to go to me! My boss was actually trying to pawn off her Monday ticket for this one, as she has family coming into London on that Monday and will already be attending Saturday and Sunday but couldn't get away with just buying a weekend ticket. So I, being the fantastic team member that I am, faithfully volunteered to take her Monday pass. How good of me! And who would have thought, there is a direct train from London to Paris that is less than 2.5 hours long! Hoo hoo!
Admittedly this will use a bit more of my budget than I would like, but after speaking with my manager, things could be arranged should the right set of conferences come up. Excellent.
What Design Can Do - Amsterdam
Although I am thoroughly interested in going to this one, it pains me that it is right on my birthday (which is on a Friday this year), so I am hesitant. But it has such interesting speakers (people from Twitter and ridiculous magazines like Fantastic Man!) and who wouldn't want to have a ridiculous birthday celebration in Amsterdam? I could potentially invite my girlfriends to come along (as one of them, *cough* German K* also has a birthday at the same time). Discussions will need to ensue, and quickly. Getting flights here might be a little more pricey than I would like as well, but whatever, I'm willing to spend some my own dollars if it will get me there for a weekend in Amsterdam for my birthday with my friends!
EPIC 2013 - London
This one by far has the dumbest name (EPIC? Really? - it stands for Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference...I think someone was stretching something a bit...), but my team is highly interested in this sort of business so...it might be made into a team outing. September? I can definitely put that into my calendar. The speakers and schedule have not yet been announced but we are waiting to hear more about its awesomeness. Pretty sure it's gonna happen.
And among this amazing tour of potential great places, I am also going to be checking out the London School of Economics and Politics lectures (apparently they're free to the public and my manager has been checking them out) as sometimes they overlap quite heavily with my industry and other topics that may be of interest.
Overall this ties into my year's goals of being more out there and getting back my sense of creative wonderment. Since I left university I can say that I may have let this drop a bit, and that's a shame. Time to get back into the kick of academia and maybe, if I stay long enough, getting back to school and continuing my edu-ma-cation.