Quitting Your Event or Conference Planning Job

This one is for all of the Event and Meeting Planners that are stuck in a dead end meeting or event planning job.  This is for those that want to make a difference but can’t because the boss, the committee or whoever sits above you or next to you just sucks. This is for those who work with people that do not see the true value of events, meetings or conferences.

There comes a time in the life of a meeting and event planner when you will look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you cannot rebuild, makeover or infuse new life into an event, conference or meeting. Perhaps it is not your fault because sometimes you cannot change the system.

Sometimes things suck so bad that you do not even want to work on your event, you do not want to hear about your event and you do not want to go to your event. You end your day with a cheap bottle of red wine, a shot glass and a snickerdoodle because you hate being you.

When you started, you were all full of piss and vinegar because when you were hired, they said they loved your ideas and they loved your energy. As time went on you realized that they didn’t share your passion for making things better, they just wanted another  cog in the wheel and you just happened to be the dude at the door.

The idiot just wants you to go through the motions, get the job done and not make waves. The dufus does not want you to come up with innovative content, learn about sustainability or change a freaking thing. They just want the same old crap served on the same ugly platter because it keeps them happy in their little spot in life.

I know, I know, the thrill is gone and you get depressed knowing that you are working on an assfest that will make your attendees sad, your sponsors mad and your competition glad. You still want to make the attendees spirit’s soar and I appreciate that.

Hold Your Head High

We have all been there sunshine, you are not unique and you are not alone. What makes us seasoned meeting planning professionals is more than our event knowledge, it is the added ability to know two things:

  • When things can be changed
  • When to get out

But Keith! Getting out is Quitting and I am not a Quitter

Wow, too bad for you and I love your high ideals but lets be real and have a reality check. Is it going to get better? if it will not get better, quitting is just what you need to get ahead. Quitting is not failure, failure is staying with something that is going to crash like a drunken Dodo on spring break.

The dictionary defines quitting as:

Quitting:Present Participle of Quit (Verb)
Leave (a place), usually permanently.
Resign from (a job).

Nowhere in this definition does it say “fail” or “failure”.

There comes a time when you just have to go and this is the point when quitting is not a bad thing, it is actually a good thing.

When you quit you get your sanity back, your life back and you open the door to a world of new opportunities. You also stop drinking all that red wine and you now have the chance to work with people that can actually see your potential and will encourage you to create amazing events.

Trust me, you do not want to be there when the annual suckfest comes to town because every time that little carnival rolls through you lose a little more of your soul.

Find any event that was a total nightmare, disaster or flop and now try and find the people that worked on the team that produced said event. Should you locate them, working at another backwards ass carnival, ask them if staying was a good career move.

Now, don’t go all rah rah on me and quit your job tomorrow, that is a little rash. Why not use  your event and meeting planning gift and start planning your escape and digging that tunnel out of the prison you are in and do it the smart way.

Get your resume together, get that awesome new haircut, that wicked new pair of shoes and a new shirt. Start looking for that new gig because that new gig is not going to come looking for you.

Do your homework, get active in the industry and start making yourself known at industry events because even in a bad economy, stars get hired.

Go and be an event planning rock star, I picked a song to get you moving.

Frankly Mr, Shankly by the Smiths – Trust me, change a couple words and it works.


Image: The Hiking Artist

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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