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Marcin Zajkowski
Marcin Zajkowski

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5 Things to Say to Convince Your Partner to Let You Go to an IT Conference

Disclaimer: I love my wife and she is my biggest supporter. Without her I wouldn't be where I am and all of the things which I'm doing were not be able to exist.

I'm (usually ;)) fully transparent with her and all the points described below are a funny take on the issues which we faced during our relationship, or still are the topics of our jokes and arguments.

Feel free to learn from our mistakes and protips!

And pstt... I really do suggest you go to Umbraco Codegarden or UK Fest / PL Festivals as they are the best community events which I’ve had the opportunity to attend.

Codegarden 2017 Crowd

Let's all agree - it is a common issue / blocker for all of us (who has partners of course). You desperately want to go to your favorite IT event, but your family calendar (don't lie, it's {###put_a_name_of_your_partner_or_random_child###}'s fault...) just won’t allow it. It's easier if it's a meetup or a 2 or 3 hour long event in your hometown, or nearby. It becomes harder when the event is in another country or maybe even timezone or side of the Globe! Combo is when they take more than a couple of days! Supercombo is when you have a small baby as an 'addition' for example... And that's when the whole fun begins :> The Game of Thrones, priorities and whose right is the rightest :)

I will tell you some of the key arguments which I've used in the past, to convince my wife to 'let me go' (and go back :)). Let's start!

1. Knowledge is King!

We all want to become smarter, right? Wouldn't it be awesome if our partners heard more about some geeky stuff from us after {###x###} days packed of workshops or talks and discussions with like-minded people? It would. Even if our partners hate hearing about 0's and 1's, algorithms, fancy new javascript frameworks etc. - the passion in our eyes is something that they admire (I suppose...). Knowing more may also increase our self confidence and level of happiness. It'll affect all aspects of our life. Happy DEV = Happy Partner :)

Pro(bro)tip: Use it as the main argument - if we want to get better, earn more $$$, we need to evolve and learn. There is no better opportunity in the world than going to {###put_your_branch_or_niche_name_here###} event. If we can’t be there, we'll be million years behind the whole crowd of people who were there and then yada-yada-yada...

2. It's all about the Value

As a wise man once said: 'Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value'. Do you know who it was? Albert Einstein. It must be the truth then ;) And where is the value hidden? The answer is simple: in people's minds (and pockets). If we want to succeed, we need to give value to others, but also to learn from other people and be inspired by theirs values and behaviours.

Me presenting the latest C# Features at Umbraco UK Festival 2017

Pro(bro)tip: Pretend like you suck at something (I know you rock!). Share more details about your latest failures and blame your lack of knowledge for it in front of your partner ;)

3. It's not only about the code...

Pssst... is your partner still looking on what you're reading? :)

if (sheOrHeIsStillLooking) {

 *    Those conferences are happening in various places on the map. Different 
 *    cultures, traditions, people. It's a great opportunity to discover them all 
 *    and bring something back as a GIFT(s) / souvenirs + we all love buying tax 
 *    free stuff in airports. Pick / let your partner name some most wanted sweets 
 *    or liquors and just buy them. Your baby loves soft toys? You'll find a ton 
 *    of them (and shiit.. how expensive they could be!) at the airport, but be 
 *    clever (I know you are!) and buy them before passing the security checks, 
 *    ideally during your stay in a local store. Save money. Their joy will be the 
 *    same :) 
 *    **Pro(bro)tip**: My wife, for example, loves Baileys Irish Cream. So, every 
 *    time I see a limited edition bottle - I buy it. And just once I bought it in 
 *    our store in Poland ;) No-one noticed... shhh. It's a lot easier with toys 
 *    for my little one, but I can only imagine how it'll become hard in the next 
 *    few years as she won't be so easy to fool. Damn.

} else {

 *    PAAAAAAAAARTTYYYYY TIME! It's obvious you won't be sitting for 24h in front 
 *    of your computers (I assume it's not a fancy hackathon this time, they might 
 *    be treated differently). From my experience, the social side of these events     
 *    is sometimes more important than things learned during the sessions or 
 *    workshops. You can always get hold of slides or watch a video recording of a 
 *    talk, but you can't (usually) go back to the lobby or a bar where you've all 
 *    headed after the official part of the event. Try not to be the type of 
 *    person who goes straight to the hotel and avoid other people. I've learned a 
 *    ton of useful stuff from just having a beer or coke with people who are more 
 *    clever than me! I’ve broken through my introvert barriers, in the beginning 
 *    I was shy as fuck (especially when I wasn't confident of my language skills 
 *    to be 'enough' to just talk with the people). It wasn't easy, believe me. 
 *    But I made it and it made me. I've met great people and opened up some paths 
 *    which would still closed if I was the type of guy who lean against the wall 
 *    or stared at his smartphone screen all the time. Use it. Use it wisely. It 
 *    might be the only opportunity to shake hands with your favorite speaker, 
 *    your coding idol or person who you wanted to always meet in the real life.
 *    **Pro(bro)tip**: Don't drink your wife's Baileys a.k.a. remember about the 
 *    gifts mentioned earlier :) Also, have a plan! For my first big conference I 
 *    created a list of people who I wanted to just shake hands with or just say 
 *    hi, who I want to complement and thank them for their work which helped me, 
 *    and those with who I wanted to exchange contact details with -  as I might 
 *    need them in the future. I was just "checking" them out on paper during the 
 *    event and I almost got 100%!

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People, Not Technology

4. 'The Mountains are calling and I must go'

Ok, now I assume your partners are not looking over your shoulder, so we can stop lying ;) Sometimes we just must go, so we need to be convincing about it. No one can replace us, our boss expects us to be there, James, John and Jeffrey are going - I can't be different. Pick your favorite line. Over the years you should learn what works best for you. It's so far down on this list as it doesn’t usually work... And it might be even worse when your favorite colleague is staying home because of his/her partner ;) #conformism

Pro(bro)tip: Don't overuse it, especially if you’re playing a victim who must go somewhere multiple times. Who as any IT, reasonable person, will stay in the relation with a company who forces their staff to leave their families so often? You may be forced then to look for a new contract / employer / profession and feel pressure from a different side of the battle (more dangerous ;)).

5. It's sponsored by a company

Last, but not least! Let's speak about the money. I love this argument. Especially when you're your own boss and you're using this one as a valid point in this type of discussion. I always said that it's sponsored by the company's money - even if I was paying for it as self-employed freelancer or when I was running my previous business! ;) And you know what.. it worked! If money is a key (and I know it is sometimes...) it's easier to accept that not your 'own' money (family budget etc.) will be lost and burned if you go. Even if they will at the end of the day ;) And if it’s really sponsored by your company - kudos to them and to their increasing investment due to your knowledge level!

Meetups Panel at Umbraco UK Festival 2017

Pro(bro)tip: Invest in yourself. Don't be scared of wasting money for attending events like those described above. It’d probably not be wasted. Of course - all at a reasonable amount and keeping your possibilities and goals in mind. Separate your accounts into more than one, and keep a budget aside for your self-improvement, marketing and promotional purposes.

It's the icing on the cake. Another topic requiring some tips is how to behave and communicate at such an event... Maybe I'll address that too one day. For now - thanks for reading. Enjoy, and I’ll see you at the nearest possible event ;))

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