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All conferenced out

After more than three dozen conferences in two years, I thought I had an overdose. But this particular industry conference was to be held in central London and the post-conference events included a ride in the London Eye and a dinner cruise down the Thames. The social events were tempting, but not the conference itself, for I was leaving my company and I was no longer affiliated with a publication.

Despite this, my colleague (or ex-colleague, I should say) urged me to go, if anything, for networking purposes. "You never know," he said. "You might get a job."

But was I ready for my next job? Did I want to work in the same field? These questions didn't occur to me until I sat in the conference hall, among business suited men and women who were diligently taking notes. While they were deeply immersed in the topics under discussion, I was trying very hard not to dose off. My head keep nodding. So I started to take notes, not about the presentations, but about my life plans.

During the breaks, I wandered into the exhibit halls and spoke to the people manning the stalls. They were trying to look busy when there were no visitors, and trying to look interested if anyone approached their way.

I got into an interesting conversation with a risk manager about the likelihood of Britain hitting a crash. He said that many people were using long term debt (mortgages or remortgage payments) to pay short term debt (credit cards). If interest rates go up, the cost of such borrowings would go up. Meanwhile, housing prices would fall, thus lowering the size of the borrowings. This would lead to a double whammy effect, if stock markets continued to be bearish.

After lunch I weighed the pros and cons of staying at the conference. There was a reason why I couldn't keep up my interest. I wasn't being paid to be there. I didn't care for the subject. I just wanted to go on the cruise with three friends I had invited that evening. So why the pretense? With this enlightenment, I left the conference early and walked to the nearby park until cruising time.

5 July 2002 Friday

energy events
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