Unplug and Recharge With Work Conferences

The early bird gets the best breakfast.

Okay, the title technically doesn’t make much sense, but you get the idea.

I write this from a beautiful resort in northern New England overlooking the mountains. I just took a nice dip in the hot tub and plan to relax the rest of the evening.

One of the perks of working in Healthcare finance is you sometimes get to go to fancy conferences and listen to people talk about insurance premiums, deductibles, and Health Savings Accounts. Hey come on! It’s better than talking about leveraging synergy and optimizing workflow (like a boss).

When I was new to the corporate world, I was blown away by conference amenities.  Fancy hotel rooms. Free lunches. Networking. Free dinners. Drink tickets. Vendor swag. Free Education. I was like a kid in the conference store.


Check out Max OOP’s view for the week!

Eventually, work somehow started getting in the way of taking advantage of all-expense-paid conference opportunities. Conferences somehow became an inconvenience. I would be glued to my phone, email, or laptop trying to put out fires back at the office remotely, thus missing out on quality content. I would come back after the conference to hundreds of other emails to deal with. If it were a local conference, I would often drive back to the cubical farm for lunch to check in with work and my employees. Eventually, I stopped signing up for them as much. How did it come to this?  What happened to that kid?

Thinking back on it, a lot of this was self-induced. I think I was probably just copying what my fellow colleagues were doing. Did they just want to look busy and important? Or, could their companies literally not last a few minutes without them? Most of those ‘fires’ probably would have gone out themselves. Or, maybe, they even needed to burn for a few days. Most of the emails could probably have been cleaned up in a concentrated hour or two AFTER the conference instead of taking hundreds of mini cortisol injections throughout the week.

Make a Work Conference Your Next Vacation

Max OOP is lucky enough to be attending a 4-day healthcare educational conference this week in a great setting. I am completely unplugging for this one and doing it right. Time to re-charge. It is healthy to step away from the rat race. It is healthy to listen to new ideas. It is healthy to relax in fancy hotels. Who knows – it might be the first step for me extending the game and actually finishing out the full year of work in 2019. At this conference, I get to look around the room at a bunch of stressed-out bean counters while I drink my coffee and decide what kind of muffin I want.

Should I tell them there is another way? Should I tell them about early retirement? Would they listen?

This particular presentation is paid education; meaning the organizers don’t need vendors to subsidize the venue and/or activities since my employer and associations cover the cost. I have come to learn these are the best kind of conferences since the content is usually pretty solid and you don’t have to dodge salespeople. This group (HCPro) is known for putting on quality presentations and engaging the audience. 

This conference will be a nice break from the daily grind and hopefully I cultivate some new ideas. Coming back re-charged will most definitely provide more value for me and even my employer. Even more important, I get to live in this awesome room for four days! Max OOP will never fail to be impressed by a fancy hotel room. 

Max OOP will definitely alternate beds each night!

Today’s take away – sign up for a conference today, unplug from work, and take in the niceties.

Max Out of Pocket = $0.00 for me, $1,499 conference fee plus over $600 in hotel room charges all paid on my behalf.

What is the best conference you have ever been to?

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2 Responses

  1. My employer subsidized my going to BlogHer a couple of times. He paid for the ticket, the plane ticket and the hotel room with the agreement that I would pass out some promotional stuff to people I met there, which I would’ve done even if he hadn’t paid, so that was quite the deal. So that was quite the deal.

    These days I just go to FinCon, and I’ve stopped asking him to pay because he doe so much else for me (including high pay) and we’re a small company that I feel weird. But he does pay me for the days I’m at the conference, which is nice, because he knows I hype the company any chance I get. And because I don’t technically get any vacation days as a contractor, which I think he feels a little bad about.

    FinCon isn’t nearly as relaxing as the ones you attend sound, but it’s a great deal of fun, seeing all your virtual-world friends in real life and yes enjoying a few hotel amenities. Plus, there are a lot of sales people but these ones give out swag. I’ve gotten all the t-shirts I’ll need for years now because of the conference. Last year, one vendor was giving out pretty quality umbrellas. And there so much miscellaneous other stuff that my mom (also a blogger who attends) does two giveaways when she gets back from the conference, which her readers LOVE.

    • Max OOP says:

      Well, Abigail, you are my first official comment. Thanks so much, you made my day! I will have to look into FinCon, seems like I have seen it referenced on a few other blogs. Umbrellas are a GREAT idea. What blog does your mom have? Have a good weekend!

      Max OOP.

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