I received an email just after I arrived in Seattle for the last SQL in the City 2012 stop. It was from Simon Doubt, who was also coming to Seattle for the PASS Summit, but who hadn't planned on just attending the conference. Simon had actually come to the Pacific Northwest with a plan: The OLAP Sprint.
After a few years of attending the Summit and being inspired, taught, and excited by the immersion, it was time to up the ante. The idea was simple, even if the execution would be a challenge. Simon wanted to do more than attend a variety of talks and have interesting conversations. In seven days in Seattle he planned on learning to build an OLAP solution.
You can read about his journey and it's an interesting one. It was a success, and while it hasn't created an OLAP expert, I'm sure that Simon has gained a lot of things from his focused effort. It's a starting point to learn more. It's an accomplishment of a fairly difficult task, and it's a great story that should help a career move forward. This is certainly something I'd put on my resume.
Throughout the week as I read each entry, I noticed this was a way to tackle the week long conference not as a break from work, but as an exciting new project. The posts showed someone that was taking advantage of the resources at a conference to grow their knowledge and skills. This is a great example of what a plan can do for you, and how you can show your boss that the money spent on this type of training is worthwhile.
Not everyone will have a plan, and I'd guess most don't, but the next time you ask for funding think about including a plan of what you are looking to accomplish in a week. Whether you're attending a conference or an Immersion event, having a plan, with a few specific goals can show that you are using the money you get wisely.
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