Rob Davidson cannot let it lie on holiday and is one of many who suffers from la déformation professionnelle
How many of you think about work while you’re on holiday? Most of you I’d warrant. A recent survey of 3,000 managers by the Chartered Management Institute, showed more than a quarter took a laptop on holiday, for work-related purposes. And 41% of them suffered from ‘inbox anxiety’, expecting to deal with more than 100 e-mails on their return.
A hundred e-mails? – that’s an average day at work for some.
How can we not think about our work when on holiday? Transport, hotels, catering … these are all part of the conference product.
Our other halves may not like it, but most of us can’t help thinking about the conference industry when we are on holiday. We’d call this a ‘busman’s holiday’, but the French expression is more elegant: la déformation professionnelle – seeing the world through a lens that is shaped by the job you do. And I believe this phenomenon is widespread in our industry.
Let’s be honest, we are working in the conference industry because we like it – it’s our passion. Most of us are grossly underpaid and overworked, but we stay the course because we love this business. If we were only interested in making money, we would go and sell eurobonds. Of course, this can get out of hand, and you can find yourself well and truly SCREWD – Suffering from Conference-Related Extreme Workaholism Disorder.
Tell-tale signs that prove that you too are probably SCREWD:
• You don’t have any photos of friends or family on your desk at work, but on your mantelpiece at home, you have lovingly framed and signed photos of your colleagues and favourite clients
• When on holiday, you always prefer to slip off to look at the local conference centre, instead of local cultural landmarks
• On Sunday evenings, you retire to your study to read blogs about the latest conference trends
• The language of the conference world creeps into conversation. Instead of saying ‘Are your parents coming over for lunch at the weekend?’ you let slip: ‘Are the arrangements in place for the delegates’ gala dinner?’
Don’t tell me it’s sad. Who would you rather be in a relationship with or do business with – someone who was fulfilled, happy and passionate about their job and took a lively interest in it even outside office hours – or a clock-watching nine-to-fiver simply going through the motions?
This is a great industry. It’s part of the global communications process that gets people together to talk to each other to find ways of doing things better. And, if you’re reading this, you are probably a part of it. Good for you!