As mentioned before, I went to a nursing conference recently on endometriosis. This actually took place at Lenox Hill hospital in their auditorium. Despite not being a nurse myself, I had a few reasons for going:
1. Networking (but to be fair, that's a reason for me to most things in life)
2. Comparing a medical CLE event to the numerous legal CLE events I've gone to, that thankfully I don't have to attend live if I don't want to at this point
3. Helping out a friend via accomplishing #1
After doing this, I had an interview for a story on my whole childfree experience. That publicity from Slate.com just keeps paying off in various ways. I wonder if that's also how random people from the past are coming out of the woodwork to contact me.
So, I went to this event & have some impressions:
A) These doctors & speakers were much better than many lawyers I've seen speak. First off, none of you are going to compare to Dr. Seckin's presentation where he had illustrations of his topic. People marveled at the production values he had. Very few attorneys could pull that off.
I also noticed more eye contact & sincere attempts to engage the audience. Another thing I've not seen often enough in presenters at legal CLEs.
B) I ordered the right food. Yes, you got a choice of lunch & I picked well since I liked my main course. The spread was nice & they posted signs telling you what items were. I thank that catering company for that. It's the first time I've seen that; some of us didn't live in households with very cosmopolitan menus so unless it's familiar to those folk, we won't tend to eat or try new things. Ironic that I'm not a foodie but I'm a Yelp Elite, isn't it? I know some of those folks are.
C) I didn't see younger nurses & I don't know what the custom is for them and business cards. No one gave me theirs so I didn't give mine. In some cases, I just didn't get the vibe to do it or feel that I was dealing with the right population. I'm trying to find the non-traditional, disaffected types.
For those who aren't aware, I do get vibes from people sometimes. I'm not great at it but I have gotten them before. When I don't get a good vibe or an open vibe, I'm not going to bother. That's just how I operate. I got that vibe big time from their celebrity spokesperson (not a big time person in case you were wondering).
As I've said before most people I've met in entertainment, even higher profile people, tend to be very nice if they hear you're a lawyer. This person didn't so believe me, that's going to be duly noted.
My sister wants to do nursing and all I can say after this is she'd better be darn good at science if she wants to be a success at it. I'm not sure if she is or what her feelings are on it.
After that, I had my interview & that went better save for this old lady in the restaurant who was remarking on my speaking. I hear her keep saying "She talks a lot!" (well, duh I was being interviewed so of course I was) & making other cracks as I'm doing the interview. When I came in, there was a lot of people but when we got to later in the interview, there were very few people.
I get asked one question after hearing this woman carrying on & in answering (and hearing her mutter again loudly) I mutter "Bitch" under my breath. My interviewer asked about it but figuring she may not have heard this bitchy woman, I didn't bring it up & just kept going in the interview.
After that, I didn't notice the bitch making more comments about me. She moved on to some gentlemen sitting to our left. I'm not sure if she was insane, if the restaurant knew about her or what the deal was.
I don't think going to the conference was a total waste (though I hate getting up early if I'm not getting paid for it) but I didn't really get to network & just didn't have much of a vibe. I figure if I do that sort of networking, I'd have to do just do it online through LinkedIn or something. However, I did observe that the way endometriosis is treated by many doctors & society is one example of the total disregard women are given in society. I also feel like at least the medical community is more concerned about people's day to day experiences & offering programs with information people can use when they walk out the door. I wish more CLEs had that; it feels like many of them don't have things I can use in my day to day life since I don't work in some mega-law firm or have a traditional job (note I didn't say "all"; I found training for Monday Night Law to be useful in day to day life).
I'd also like to see more programs talking about larger societal issues and perhaps teaming up with professionals in other communities & discussing the links between different areas. With many CLE courses you see in my field, you'd think lawyers exist in a vacuum or on an island someplace.
A few days ago, I get a LinkedIn connection request from someone I know. I approve it and then get another connection request from someone I know (or at least, know of). It's the director of alumni relations at my undergrad.
That came as a shock to me for a number of reasons:
1. I've told that office more than once that I would never give a general contribution to the school & spelled out exactly why. Part of it is that if I wanted to fund racism, I'd just give my money to the KKK instead of a pack of hypocrites who claim to be tolerant and accepting of all but kept protecting a racist frat that got them into the press with their antics & was reviled by a great many students there.
2. I told people who I did speak to from those days not to give out my contact information to the alumni office since I had no interest in giving them money. Everyone I talked to agreed to this condition, which got even more important after working with my film company.
Now I don't think anyone violated my trust but if they did, they'd regret it (as anyone who knows me would agree).
3. My name is different & I don't post personal pics of myself on social media. Nor do I use that old name in searches since it's not part of my identity and hasn't been in quite some time. That name has no connection to my legal identity; I've even referred to it as my slave name & won't answer to it.
Had I not gotten married, I would have paid money to change it once I had a good alternative.
After getting this random LinkedIn connection request and hearing about an upcoming alumni event in NYC, I decided I'd just be honest about my feelings toward my undergrad. To hell with anyone found what I had to say offensive or insulting or if it hurt their precious little feelings! My thought was (and has been) that if you're going to contact me after years & years, you're getting the same treatment you'd get if you were some random stranger who'd sent me a Facebook friend request. You're getting the real me, not some sanitized or artificial or PC version. Real me isn't going to censor herself or worry about offending you; real me is going to tell the truth & get her feelings off her chest.
That long lost relative who contacted me ages ago didn't get that my business requires me to watch my back & not be fully trusting of virtual strangers. If you don't get that, I can't explain it to you so I left that situation as is.
I got a response after writing this director, who informed me that the racist frat was no longer on their campus & that everyone has some bad experience at their undergrad (sorry, you won't be swaying me to give that school money after I managed to win in spite of what a rational person would see as the attempt to sabotage me & ruin my shot to live up to my potential).
She's the one who told me about the black sorority coming to campus; thank God they aren't having to deal with that. I would feel horrible for them having to try to get members while a totally racist frat is running around & probably subjecting them to total crap treatment. I may not agree with the concept of a racially separated sorority but from what I recall of the environment at the time for black folks, being a student there was no picnic & I think it would be wrong for some stranger to have to go through that.
After verifying that information on the frat's official website (since I vet everyone & everything as a matter of course), I decided I'd attend that alumni event on Monday. A former professor of mine (who is a LinkedIn connections) is supposed to be there.
In my message to this director, I also said I have no issue with talking to individuals or offering advice to alumni or new grads. You have to judge individuals on their own merits. I never mind requests for advice or informational interviews & have certainly done this for attorneys who wanted to work in the entertainment field. If you don't mind the unvarnished truth, I'll certainly give it to you if asked.
We'll see if those career advice articles that say try networking with your undergrad alumni network is valid for me or not. I hadn't really used that network since I don't live anywhere near my undergrad campus and only have a handful of people I deal with from that time; most of them are sorority sisters. Boy, if I meet that bitchy lawyer who told me I'd never make it, she'll be in for a shock. I'm not so sure she's around since I've never encountered her in nearly 5 years in the legal field & being at bar associations in Manhattan. Maybe I should try looking her up on LinkedIn since different name, different life.
That experience made me vow never to treat someone else that way. In short, she was a dream killing jerkwad who made assumptions about me & my life not to mention severely underestimating my hatred, disconnect & total square peg status with the South. I still remember her name & I mentioned this to the alumni director as well (yep, I discussed EVERYTHING I encountered that was bad though acknowledged that there were some good people around as well). I also wonder when this racist frat was booted off and what happened; as of 2009, I know they were still there so my moral outrage has been quite appropriate for years.
I'm also shocked that they finally let people film at the school; I remember it being a huge thing to deny folks that opportunity. Maybe some higher ups got a clue? Guess I'll see. The jury's still out on my feelings about that place or where it's going. Again, no general contributions but individual groups that helped me could get things from me when I had the means to do it.
If you spit on my giving advice or information, then I'm not into handing you money. Just a fact. To me, advice & information are free but useful if you haven't got the knowledge & savvy. Ask anyone who doesn't have a mentor & had to make a lot of mistakes on their own. Had they had someone to consult, they might have been able to save themselves from heartache & hassle.
Any smart person who hopes to get anywhere knows they aren't the foremost expert on everything & that they'd better keep learning if they want to get anywhere, especially from those who come around later on. They also know they won't live forever & aren't the start or end of a profession. I've felt this way forever, especially when I started out & was looking for guidance on things.
You know, there is one very good thing about those unresolved issues coming up from your past: you get the opportunity to get closure, speak out & put things to rest. Regardless of how things happen if someone reaches out to you, you've been given the power to embrace today & free yourself from some past, sanitized version of yourself. You get to say things you might have been afraid to say or felt you couldn't say in the past. If you're an adult, you get to stand on your own two feet & handle things your way.
Since I dealt with all this, it does feel like catharsis & weight off my shoulders. Time & distance can resolve conflicts you couldn't deal with or were too young for at the time. Plus, if I'm going to have to be in the public sphere I might as well confront things head on & not be a chicken.
Doing an extra gig on Tuesday where someone I know is the casting director (so it's more of an undercover boss kind of thing) & dealing with Comic Con on Thursday & Friday so my week's going to be eventful. Posts will be dealing with those individual experiences & believe me, you'll hear about any pricks I encounter at Comic Con (especially any big name types since I won't want to deal with them in my business or expose their shit to my colleagues).