SHRM 2010 Annual Conference: My Experience


This past week, I went to the SHRM 2010 Annual Conference as a blogger and a speaker. That’s my job and it’s a pretty good role.

I also went to the conference as a regular person with boring personal and professional issues. I had a stupid disagreement with my husband before the conference — something that doesn’t happen very often — and it put me in a foul mood. I am married to a great guy, and it bothered me that we couldn’t see eye-to-eye on a particular issue. I’m used to having conflicts with executives, employees, and other bloggers. Why would I reach an impasse with the only man in the world who loves me? We’ve been married for eight years. Why couldn’t we resolve this? Why did this happen right when I was leaving for one of the most important events of the year?

I was sad and aggravated, yo.

It was tough to pack my suitcase on Thursday night. I was angry with myself that I couldn’t stay focused on blogging and my presentations. I wanted to crawl under the covers and take epic naps. I wanted to be left alone with my thoughts. Honestly, I just wanted to pout like a teenager.

I left for the conference on Friday — and I had a seriously horrible travel day. A six-hour trip turned into a fourteen-hour journey. I was stranded in Atlanta and Delta representatives were unhelpful. Rebooking was a nightmare and I was lucky to get a seat on the last flight of the night. The airport was loud & crowded. I didn’t want to eat fast food but there were no other options. I arrived in San Diego after midnight, and I even had trouble checking into my hotel.

It was a bad day. I called my husband and just sobbed.

He said, “I don’t know what to do when you’re this sad.”

I said, “I think I just need to work. I need distractions.”

And I was right. I’m just like every other reader of Punk Rock HR. Shit happens. That’s adulthood. When all else fails and an aspect of your personal life sucks, shift your focus and get to work.

I followed my own advice and I worked my butt off at the conference — as much as a speaker and a blogger actually works.

  • I spoke to HR students and told them about the mistakes in my career. Matt Stollak has been my champion on that one. Thanks for being there for me, buddy.
  • I’m ecstatic that people came out to an impromptu tweet-up at The Tipsy Crow on Saturday night. It lifted my spirits. Everyone had fun (I think) and I was able to introduce Ben Eubanks to Gerry Crispin. That was thrilling.
  • I was able to make fun videos with Jennifer McClure for the Monster Thinking blog. Jen is my new conference spouse. (Sorry, Lance.)
  • Smartbrief talked to me about the disconnect between HR and job seekers. I think that’s an important topic, so I was happy to do it.
  • I was excited to be invited to the Badger Bash and the tweet-up on Monday. I felt relevant (sorta).
  • I spent time with Elaine Orler, Libby Sartain, and Joel Cheesman at a very swanky SHRM Foundation event. I went last year with China Gorman. This year, Gerry Crispin was my date. My ego was soothed when I went around the room and introduced myself to almost every single person in attendance, including members of the SHRM board. I’ve met many of these people before but I didn’t care. I wanted to be social. Someone called me ‘the pixie of the apocalypse’ and I loved that. Hard.
  • I woke up early on Tuesday and sat on a panel and talked about social media for the 1,000th time — and it was the perfect distraction because so many of my friends were there.

I’m so glad I had a chance to work. I even went retro and made a video from my hotel bed. I haven’t done that in ages.

After a horrible travel day back from San Diego (and a big f-u to Delta), I am happy to be home with my husband.


And I’m overjoyed to be back to work on Punk Rock HR.

Thanks, dudes. What would I do without you?

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