INside Track: Pay Halfway to Play or Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

There have been some thoughtful and valid responses to yesterday’s Inside Track post, “What’s lacking?…In-house MIA”. Most posts focus on the very real fact that many companies won’t pay for their design staff to attend conferences and other industry events. I believe that while it’s important to acknowledge this challenge, there are ways to address it. The most obvious option is to use personal funds to pay to attend. There are many designers, in-house, agency and freelance, participating in industry events who pay their own way.

Another possibility is to meet your company halfway. I’ve found that when I’ve initially been turned down for funds and I come back with an offer to partially finance the trip with my own money, my company has stepped up and helped with the cost. When I make that offer, the suits finally understand just how committed I am to my profession and acknowledge and appreciate my personal commitment. Usually they’ve covered the hefty registration fees and I’ve handled travel and lodging costs – and there are a lot of travel deals to be found now to help ease the financial burden.

If you show your belief in the value of a conference by putting your money where your mouth is, your managers may take your request more seriously. They may take you more seriously as well.

6 thoughts on “INside Track: Pay Halfway to Play or Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

  1. Andrea

    This is a great idea. My current employer doesn’t cover the cost for professional dues (or anything at all), so I bit the bullet and forked out my own cash, and it’s been worth every penny.

    I’d do the same for conferences, but, let’s be honest, they are too expensive for our In-House salaries. Especially if the person is just starting out (and those are usually the ones who need the experience the most).

    I feel like the kid who didn’t get permission from her parents to join the pool party across town, and whose allowance won’t cover the travel fees to get there on her own.

    I guess I’ll just go buy some more design journals.

  2. Trish F.

    I agree that this is a good idea. However, I haven’t been able to put together the money to see if it will work. I’m aiming for next year though and I’m hoping the HOW will be on the east coast! I went 5 years ago and KNOW it is worth every penny for me and for the company, but they saw the trip as an extravagant expense. I’m hoping they will at least agree to let me go without taking vacation days. Keeping my fingers crossed!

    1. Trish F.

      Yesterday, when I saw that next year’s conference is in Chicago, I was excited. On my way to work this morning there was a new Billboard up with one word on it CHICAGO. I thought it was an advertisement for the Broadway Musical, but as I got closer I saw it was an ad for American Airlines touting trips to Chicago daily from my local airport. I think someone is trying to tell me something. I’m committed now! I’ll be there in 2011!

  3. Donna

    My co. will pay for my attendance and lodging for conferences, but only if they are here in FL. While you might think FL is a common destination for design conferences… It’s not! Photoshop World and Cre8 are the only ones I’ve seen and had the opportunity to attend. =(

    HOW, please come back to the sunshine state!