Author Topic: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?  (Read 3916 times)

nikki

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Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« on: September 30, 2013, 07:33:43 AM »
SO: there's an annual international conference for my field (teaching English in South Korea) being held in a couple weeks, and pre-registration ends this Thursday. I really need to decide quickly if I want to attend this conference, but I'm being a bit indecisive about the whole thing. Here's why:

  • The conference fee is $40 (using an inaccurate conversion of 1,000w (KRW) for each $1 (USD) for some frame of reference).
  • The conference is in another city, and I'd have to take a train to get there. Round-trip would probably cost about $100. Subway/taxi fares added to that; let's guesstimate $10 for those.
  • It's a two-day conference, so I'd have to pay for a motel one night--probably around $55.
  • Gotta eat while I'm there! Let's add $20 for all meals (and unfortunately it would probably be more as people at conferences rarely choose restaurants based on price).
  • Total estimated setback: $225

Expensive. Especially since I have several weekend trips planned this month to enjoy festivals around the country. October is awesome for sightseeing in Korea :)

So what do I gain from attending the conference? I find being around passionate people in my field recharging. I'd probably either learn something new or at least be pushed to challenge the way I approach my work. Most importantly, I'd be able to network. I'm currently looking for a new job at a university, and in South Korea snagging a good uni job is largely about who you know. I could pass out resumes and collect business cards all weekend.

What would you do? $225 is a lot of money, but it would be a rewarding experience. I just can't get a firm grasp on the balance of expense and reward. Maybe an outsider-Mustachian can see things more clearly?

onehappypanda

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 07:43:09 AM »
I pay more than that for conferences, although I do try to cut back on costs by choosing cheap transportation, and packing my own snacks for meals that aren't required for networking purposes.

I'd say go, especially if you're potentially on the job market soon. I don't know the situation in South Korea, but I will say that I'm in academia and the majority of students we've had placed in jobs either found out about the job, or networked with someone who called them back, at a field-specific conference. Just scale back on the "cost" part where you can by travelling cheaply and eating inexpensively when you're alone. Maximize the "reward" by making sure that you're networking enthusiastically and effectively. Follow-up with people after the conference so they remember you among the sea of names/faces they inevitably also met. Could definitely come in handy for the job search.

CommonCents

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 07:59:34 AM »
Most importantly, I'd be able to network. I'm currently looking for a new job at a university, and in South Korea snagging a good uni job is largely about who you know. I could pass out resumes and collect business cards all weekend.

This.  Sounds like a not-quite priceless opportunity you can't afford to pass up, well worth the investment.  If you weren't currently looking (or anticipating in the near future) it might be different.

Norrie

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 08:06:21 AM »
I would go. I'm also in academia, and regularly attend conferences that are 6-8x that price. I'm not a huge fan of conferences in general, but they are good for networking and getting recharged (sometimes).

Riceman

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 08:08:01 AM »
On two separate occasions i have spent 1500 dollars on plane tickets.  The first time was to interview for a scholarship, the second for a job interview. I got the scholarship, which was worth around 100k. I also spent about 6000 dollars in fees for language tutors to help get this job. That and plane ticket were the best investments i have ever made.

If you have a good plan and something fits it but costs money, always invest in yourself.

oldladystache

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 09:16:26 AM »
Go.

jrhampt

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 10:16:24 AM »
Yes, I would definitely go - even if just for the networking aspect it sounds like it would pay off.  I attend one or two professional conferences a year and try to present at one or both.  Too late for this year, but if you can submit an abstract for next year's conference, it's a great way to get more professional exposure.  In terms of networking, you can get more people to come to you this way, rather than vice versa.  Also, sometimes you can get reduced conference fees for presenting.

Sarita

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 10:43:47 AM »
HR person here--- I would go since you are looking for a new job soon.
If you were planning on staying where you for awhile, I'd say you could skip it for now.

galaxie

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 10:57:33 AM »
Often you can volunteer at conferences to get free admission.  Doesn't help with the hotel and food costs, but maybe you could share a room?

nikki

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 05:06:28 PM »
Often you can volunteer at conferences to get free admission.  Doesn't help with the hotel and food costs, but maybe you could share a room?

This is a great point, galaxie. STUDENTS who attend the hosting university can volunteer, but I'm afraid it's entirely too short notice for me to try to weasel in through some other capacity :-p

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone in this organization well enough to suggest sharing a room; this could be something I might be able to network for now and work out for next year bahah!

HR person here--- I would go since you are looking for a new job soon.
If you were planning on staying where you for awhile, I'd say you could skip it for now.

This is absolutely how I feel at the moment, Sarita.


I really, really, really appreciate everyone's input so far. I think I knew I should go, but cringe at the thought of letting more of my precious moneys drift away from me.

I'm only spastic about it because I've had an out-of-the-country visitor the past couple months and have been hemorrhaging money to go sightseeing and try Korean foods. We're still doing it cheaply, but going from never leaving my area and not having to pay subway fare AT ALL to taking the very cost-effective subway a few times a week, for example, is certainly noticeable. Obviously my own career is a priority over attending an apple festival, so it makes sense to go. To both. Because come on--apples!

Once again: thank you. I'll register later today since time is ticking away.

Carlotta

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Re: Costly career-related conference: Would you go?
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 07:00:45 PM »
Most importantly, I'd be able to network. I'm currently looking for a new job at a university, and in South Korea snagging a good uni job is largely about who you know. I could pass out resumes and collect business cards all weekend.

This.  Sounds like a not-quite priceless opportunity you can't afford to pass up, well worth the investment.  If you weren't currently looking (or anticipating in the near future) it might be different.


100% agreed. Definitely sounds worth the investment/gamble. Even if nothing comes of it immediately, those new contacts could turn out to be a huge deal in the long run.