SHRM18! It’s time to pack my bags and head for the airport. As part of the SHRM Blogging team, I’m looking forward to sharing my insights through the SHRM blog. I’m excited about meeting my #HRTribe #Nextchat #SHRMBloggers in real life. There are brunches, happy hours and photo opportunities in the works. As an HR professional, I’ve been poring over the schedule, making my 1st, 2nd and even 3rd place choices for different session times. I have my ‘must see’ and ‘want to see’ sessions picked. I’ve noted vendors I want to look at for products and services that might benefit my organization. I’ll spend some time at the Smart Stage, something I neglected last year. I’m also looking forward to seeing a bit of Chicago and eating some deep-dish pizza.
But in another real way, I’m not looking forward to this trip. The timing isn’t meshing with my personal life. I hate to be away from my family at this moment in time. Work has been busy, too, and I feel less prepared to be out of the office than I typically do when I attend a conference.
Is that you, too? Maybe you’ve got young kids at home, and it’s hard to leave them behind. Are you worried about your child care plan? Maybe, like me, you have older relatives that are needing care and attention. Maybe your company just won a big contract and you are deep into ramping up staffing. Maybe someone recently brought a #MeToo allegation to your attention, and you need to manage an investigation.
These are all real-world situations that affect many of us on a regular basis. It can be hard to walk out the door, board that plane, and let it all go. You might be second guessing your decision to attend the conference. If that’s you, be encouraged. Life is messy, and there is never a perfect time to travel. Work will always have fires, and family will always need you. But you’ve made your plans and going away for a few days is a good reminder that the world will keep spinning while you are away.
Do your best to fully disconnect from work. Set up good processes and know who in your office is going to be responsible for each task while you are out. Trust your staff. Trust the processes you’ve created. At the SHRM conference, you will be refreshed. You’ll get to hang out with 15,000 of your closest HR friends, and get reenergized for the work you do each day. The SHRM Annual Conference is a great time and place to renew your passion for HR and deepen your skill set. Whatever your professional goals for this conference, you’ll have wonderful opportunities to expand your world. I can’t wait to see you there!