Friday, December 9, 2011

Post Conference Depression

I never went to summer camp, but I can only imagine what it was like when it was time to go home. Saying goodbye to old and new friends and leaving an environment full of laughter, learning, and games... complete with mini-dramas and life transformative moments.

In my mind, the end of a conference is like's the end of adult camp and we all go back to our businesses and lives as different people. Maybe a little different - maybe a lot different. And then there's the crash.

At least for me it's that way. Maybe it's a little extreme to say it, but I'd even call it a sort of Post Conference Depression.

Post Conference Depression Symptoms:

  • Obsession with reliving your session's glories and failures
  • Irritability, restlessness...a need to keep checking the conference hashtag for updatesFatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, envy, or a sense of lost opportunity
  • Feelings of overwhelm as you read through notes and business cards collected
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • A sense of loneliness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and finding taxi receipts

Anyone else go through this? I'm already missing my friends from ASAE Tech 2011 and looking forward to next week's Association Forum Holiday Showcase in Chicago. I wonder if I'll get my conference badge this year ? (Or whatever it is you do in summer camp...)


  1. Kiki -

    You are not alone. Thank you for such an honest post. Many of us can relate.

    Love ya


  2. Depression, decompression, malaise ... whatever we call it, we know it happens. On the bright side, it's a sign that what might have once been "weak ties" are developing into strong bonds of community, ones we will miss when not in each others' presence.

    Since we know it is likely to occur, more for some perhaps than others, makes me think we could do a better job as conference organizers of staging an intervention. No, not like that one in Jerry' Seinfeld' apartment.

    So much of our pre- and post-conference communication is about content and logistics. An untapped opportunity might be addressing the human and emotional aspects of the experience. While you so aptly capture some of the post-converence blues, I often feel some pre-confernce angst: What was I thinking when submitted these sessions proposals? Why did I register for a conference during my busiest time of year? With the limited time available, who must I connect with and how can I manage all the opportunities that will be presented? How am I going to get everything done that I need to finish before I hit the road?

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Thanks for your comments!