Updated: Feb 1, 2021
(originally posted on LinkedIn)
Life's about balance, and I want to talk about "con drop" (and its miserable cousin "con crud"), because it's a real thing and I was shocked that out of the literally hundreds of people I met this weekend, when the topic came up it was met with blank stares. In the spirit of #LessonsLearned (a well known PM tool!), I hope this information helps somebody!
I had a wonderful, nay, SPECTACTULAR time at #PMIcon18, the annual conference of Project Management Institute. I learned an incredible amount, met some truly inspirational people, and spent three days immersed with #tribe. This is SO valuable.
I also know (because this isn't my first conference rodeo, even if it was my first time with PMI) that in about 2 days, I'm going to be extra irritable and likely to find myself getting frustrated for literally no good reason. (I'll probably also get a cold, if the sheer volume of sniffles between the airport and the convention center are any clue...)
I just spent three incredible days deeply immersed in my chosen profession, soaking up knowledge, engaging in spirited conversations (look, we PM's aren't all boring people! We're fun and passionate about the stuff we love!), and did I mention the talking to hundreds of people thing already? My extroverted social butterfly is sated and then some! I also was on a weird sleep schedule, and although I brought my trusty reusable water bottle, I am fairly sure I didn't get enough water.
"Con Drop" is basically the physiological rebound effect of going on all cylinders for an extended period of time. Whether that's a full day intensive on an impactful topic that you really want to learn more about or a multi-day conference, you've probably been expending energy at a significantly higher rate than usual, and that comes with a price. One I'm willing to pay, but still! It's nice to know that when the "drop" hits, I can look at it, recognize it for what it is, and know that with a good night's sleep and just being nice to myself, it'll pass and I'll be back to normal.
Con Crud is the result of being around tons of people and their personal germs. Many seasoned travelers know to boost their immune systems when they travel to ward off the crud you'll be exposed to in airports, etc., but we don't always consider that our fellow conference attendees also have unfamiliar germs that are just looking for new hosts.
This isn't to say that we're surrounded by people who are intentionally icky. It's just a biological fact. Our immune systems take a hit when we're tired or stressed, and I know by Day 3 of a conference, I'm certainly more tired than usual! Just something to think about next time you plan a conference.
Speaking of planning the next conference, that "hair of the dog" is a GREAT antidote to "con drop". Even if you know you won't be going for another year (or more), having another amazing opportunity to look forward to can really boost your mood and help push you through the bummed-out phase a little quicker. I know I'm already planning the business case for attending next year!
This concept is fairly well known in the gaming convention and spirituality conference circuits, which is where I found this article for more information on the topic. I'm not an expert, I'm just somebody who wants people to be their best.