I am just back from the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference in Las Vegas, where the challenges of being me continued unabated. I wrote about this several months ago, and to fully understand this entry you should probably read that article first if you have not done so. It is available here.

You go on ahead. I'll wait here for you.

Hmmmm, you are back suspiciously early. You must be a very fast reader.

This conference is the “must do” event of the year. The content is strong, and virtually all of the major players and decision makers are present for the few days it occupies Mandalay Bay. It can be an exhausting week where it is difficult to get all of your goals achieved – being concurrently too long and too short. And for people like me, it provides ample opportunity for awkward interactions and failed social encounters. 

To compound the social awkwardness, I was inadvertently sporting a new hair cut for this years event. I had wanted my hair to be a bit shorter than I have traditionally worn it. A few days before the conference, I visited the barber, giving her those instructions. The resulting coif was a lesson that, when getting a new doo, at least one of you should be sober. It hasn't been this short since, well, ever. Votes at home are running two to one against the new look. That is because my wife gets two votes while mine is largely symbolic and does not count. Votes on the road were somewhat better, but marks in the positive column seemed to be directly correlated with the level of inebriation of the person casting the vote. It is beginning to appear that I wasted $10 on that cut.

This year there were again ample opportunities for meeting people I had previously met while completely forgetting our prior encounters. This is a continual problem for me, as the memory portion of my brain does not work and play well with the area that manages active engagements. Requests for data and backup support are endlessly delayed, and often completely ignored. One such example occurred while I was waiting to meet an associate at the Fleur Restaurant in Mandalay Bay (It is called the “Fleur” because your jaw will drop to the fleur when you see the bill). I was stepping through the entrance of the bar when I exchanged a very quick glance with a woman passing the other way. It was nothing more than the common acknowledgment of two strangers passing through confined space, yet she looked familiar to me. It felt like I had met her before. A few minutes passed before the Archives Department in my brain reported back that the woman was most likely “Ethel”, who had been prominently featured in my first “Not Easy Being Me” segment. Had the parts of my brain worked in a more symbiotic fashion, I would have had the chance to engage her in extensive dialogue, assuring her that I still really like vanilla. Alas, that was not to be. She is probably better off that way.

I bet you wish you had actually read that first story now.

This has been a very hectic year with a lot of travel and many conferences. That certainly has challenged the sections of my brain tasked with making sense of it all. Fortunately I just have two trips left this year – I'll be in West Virginia for SAWCA this week and Los Angeles for the Comp Laude Awards the first week of December. Then I get about 4 weeks at home uninterrupted by travel. There is little doubt my brain needs the rest. The rambling nature of this post should tell you that.

I served on two panels at this conference. One was the traditional national bloggers group that we have participated in for the last few years. The other was a social media panel put on as part of a reception sponsored by ISG. That panel, also featuring Joe Paduda and former SAIF CEO John Plotkin, was a great opportunity to discuss just how much social media has changed lives within our industry. There is tremendous potential in the social media sphere, and much of it has yet to be realized by the industry. I appreciate ISG giving us the chance to talk about that during the evening.

All in all, it was a very successful trip for me, despite my limited social abilities. The days at the national conference are very long, but equally productive. It is going to be held in New Orleans next year, and I am already looking forward to it. I had the opportunity to meet many new people this week.  

I can hardly wait to meet them all again next year.

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