Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Off to USENIX-LISA in Dallas

I haven't been updating this journal for the last week or so because I've been a little bit frantic at work in preparation for taking the rest of this week off to attend the USENIX-LISA system administrator's conference in Dallas. While I'm away an entire release's worth of documents needs to go out the door and a new manual for a beta version of a project is due the day I return, so all of that had to be completed under less than leisurely circumstances. My landlords upstairs have noted that I seem to be working long hours and I protested that I haven't actually arrived home much past 7pm on any particular night but they pointed out that I've been turning in before 10 (they know when all my lights go out). But I'm only turning in early because I don't really take any breaks all day or for lunch, I explained. They didn't think this countered their point.

So anyway, I'm feeling productive (if not particularly well appreciated) which is a good feeling from which to spring off and hang out with sysadmin geeks for a few days. As a general rule, companies these days are not particularly supportive of spending money to send employees to professional conferences, and my own company is no exception. But I've been making my case since the day I arrived and, as at SGI, I worked out an arrangement where my company squeezes some money out of various pieces of a budget (x from general training and y from general travel) and I make up the difference out of pocket and it's well worth it to me. Fortunately I was able to get a frequent flier flight, so this isn't so bad, but I do miss the glory days of dotcom fortunes where you could actually get reimbursed for what food costs when you are at a business-travel optimized conference location.

There are people who will tell you that as a matter of principle you should never pay any part of work travel costs. You are helping the company. Things like professional conferences should be part of standard employee costs. The company should be grateful to you. Yeah, yeah, I suppose that's all true but at the core I really want to attend this conference -- it makes my job better and easier, to feel connected to the folks who need to use my manuals. What's the point of standing on principle when at the end you have to stay home?

So I'm off to swim in the world of geekery for a few days -- to see old friends, to stay up late, and maybe to learn a little bit about iSCSI targets. We'll see what wearing a badge that says Red Hat yields in terms of random comments from the attendees.

This should be a fine time, if the past is anything to go by.
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