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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Academic Celebrity

Kings Place The moment I walked into the glittering venue I realized this wasn't your average grubby academic conference. From my lofty perch in the keynote session I walked in on, I couldn't see any other laptops open - mostly dead tree media. During the day though, it emerged that this was a Blackberry conference, even though the press officers secretly longed for iPhones (which their bosses won't buy for them).

The Structured Networking session was a bizarre experience - it felt like being dropped into Second Life. Participants wandered around, occasionally bumping into each other, but balloons containing their agendas seemed to hover over them. As they talked to you, they crossed you off their list.
He was talking fish but his dreamy eyes were full of mega-death.
In the afternoon, there was a talk, which seemed to go OK, but by far the most interesting part of the day was observing the academic celebs strut their stuff. In a workshop on Resistance to Organizational Change the full greasy pole tactics were revealed. Simply ignore people in your organization who block what you want to do. Go around them. Be politically unpredictable, always do the unexpected, zig to their zag (for a while, I thought I was back in the 80's). And most importantly of all, make sure you sit on every committee you can to push your agenda. If there isn't a committee, start one.

All of which explains why I'm sitting here contemplating the ruins of my career. I'm crap at this stuff. I know how to do it, I just can't bring myself to. Even when I get to go to a greasy pole conference I screw up with a rude blog post about the celebs.

Which is kinda how I like it.