Don’t worry, my dear readers. I’m still here, even if you do not hear from me very often lately. I have no plans of letting my blog slowly die out. This has just been a particularly busy spring at work.
I don’t often write about my job, except when using it to explain my absence on this blog. That is because this blog is supposed to be about my private interests; in particular my passion for books and writing. But although it does not often feature here, my job takes up much of my time and energy.
What is it that I do for a living? I organise events. And before you jump to conclusions and imagine me planning weddings or concerts, let me put you straight – I organise seminars, workshops and conferences on economics. Not quite so exciting, right? But I do enjoy my job, even if much of what is discussed at the events I organise sounds like a foreign language to me. Organising events is not an easy job and the workload varies a lot from week to week. A month can go by without a single event and then there are four in one week. Most periods are speckled with small seminars while large conferences come along much less often but take up a lot more time.
This spring there has not only been a large number of smaller events but also two important conferences, one of them a few weeks ago and the other coming up next month. Among other things these events mean I have to book a lot of travel. While a regular event will require me to book one or two trips for the speakers, these two events have a combined number of 60 speakers needing travel. And if you think that booking travel is easy (especially considering that we use an external travel agent) think again! For one speaker’s flight from Japan I counted an email correspondence of more than 20 emails. The flight he wanted did not match our budget, and it took a lot of negotiating before we found a suitable flight. And he did not even change his itinerary once. Many speakers decide to change their plans several times in a space of a couple of months, forcing me to re-negotiate and re-book tickets.
Travel is not all I do, of course. I do everything from making name badges and coffee to creating and sending invitations and coordinating with partners. I work for a relatively small non-profit, so I alone constitute the entire events team. Therefore I am at the mercy of the event schedule. If a decision is made to hold an event in a week’s time (it happens, usually against my advice…) I am the one who has to make it work out.
Events are often unpredictable affairs, with a multitude of circumstances determining their success. Not only can the crisis in Ukraine draw attention away from an event on the Greek economy, but a sunny day might mean people choose to spend their lunch break in the park rather than listening to a presentation on the Banking Union. These things are not under my control. All I can do is work as hard as I can to make sure I give an event the best possible chance at success.
So when you are wondering where I am, I am probably stressing about some seminar or other, or recuperating on my sofa.