Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Professional

Earlier this week, I spent two days at this conference. It was the second time in the last month I attended a work-related conference. Third time this year. Which is three times more than last year. Three more than the year before that. And equal to the total number of conferences from the three years prior to that.

The point (though not altogether obvious): somehow, my professional life has been decidedly unprofessional.

I'm nearly 10 years removed from the campus of Duquesne University. Did a year on the first job. Left the legit work force for a few months while relocating to the West Coast. Did a few odd jobs before landing a full-time gig with a small publishing firm. Stayed with that one for five years. Left the workforce again for another year or so while trying to make this movie. Then hopped back into office life in early 2006. Been at the same job ever since.

And in all that time, I never heard of the Delphi Method. It came up at this week's conference. I gathered that I was the only person in the room without a clue. And wondered what else I didn't know about.

Having been to a handful of conferences now, I find the way people merge into temporary tribes to be mad interesting. And I've struggled thus far to figure out how best to behave. Wouldn't say that I'm socially awkward, but I'm definitely situationally awkward. And there seem to be a good deal of professional situations - whether its at a conference or in the office - that I just don't know how to navigate.

Maybe other people feel this same way. Working a room full of strangers isn't exactly a lay-up line. Maybe I'm overanalyzing things. I can break a little ice. And I'm usually nice with the business card exchange. Guess the only trouble I really have is the nagging feeling like I don't have the same body of experience - or knowledge - as everyone else. Then again, maybe that's why we all gather together. And maybe I'm missing the point.

In any case, the summer schedule of classes for NOVA came in the mail yesterday. Maybe it's time to get caught up. Become a real "professional" for once.

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