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The Conference Benefit

By Steve Jones,

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3550/3338443811_3226d31011.jpgThe PASS Summit (or any conference like SQL Connections, TechEd, etc.)  gives you the opportunity for learning, but I'd hope that it would do more and really inspire you to try something new in your job. And if you get excited, you might inspire the others you work with to try something new as well.

That was my big argument for going to a conference when I was employed as a DBA. I'd tell my boss that a conference is a chance for me to learn something new from all the amazing speakers that attend. Many of the well known MVPs, like Kimberly Tripp, Brian Knight, and Andrew Kelley, teach me something every time I hear them speak. Many of the other speakers that do interesting work, like Michelle Ufford of Go Daddy, help me learn how to better build my environment based on the experiences they present from their jobs.

A conference is also a perk. It lets me get away from the job, on work time, and do something related to my job, but in a new way. It gives me the chance to enjoy life in a new city, and have some fun. If I'm willing to make a little networking effort and meet people, I also might make some new friends and have fun at something like SQL Karaoke (hint, search #sqlkaraoke on Twitter for details).

The most important thing, for me, is that I get inspired. I hear about cool things people are doing, or hear about the fun that they're having at their job and it makes me want to have that fun at my job. I learned about Agile programming years ago, and it made me want to try it at my job. I have seen very cool reporting solutions that I couldn't implement at my job, but that gave me ideas for something similar that would work in my environment.

The biggest reason people give for leaving their jobs is often because of boredom or burnout. People want to be challenged and have  fun. They want to feel like they are solving problems and making a difference, and they want to be appreciated. Sending someone to a conference is a great way to stimulate an employee and increase their morale.

It's a cheap way to retain an employee when you might spend three or four times the price of the event on hiring a new employee.

Steve Jones


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