I am not new to the conference life by any means. When I worked in higher education conferences were a regular thing that I would attend, but I would attend them with my work colleagues and my husband would attend his industry conferences with his colleagues, we never crossed the aisle and that worked really well, aside from those few pesky years when we were never together for our wedding anniversary – thanks, Moz.
Fast forward to this last year and my realization that in order for me to be a full supporter of Ian and his business I had to be all in, and that means traveling with him to conferences. I have officially become the plus one on all events, and I don’t mind it – that much.
The saying about a fish out of water is 100% me when I am by his side. I know very little about the SEO industry, I am learning, but when it is not my day to day it can all sound very parlez-vous français.
Total transparency here – I don’t even understand his tweets most of the time, he basically is having an affair with SEO that I know all about and I am ok with it.
The funny thing about just recently beginning to tag along with him and making our life a little more public – most people don’t know I am his wife right away. I have had full conversations with people and when they do get around to asking what it is I do, or how I know Ian, they are shocked when I say, “Oh, I’m his wife.” Most often people think I am somehow involved in one of his business ventures, but I’m not, unless you want to call me the cook and maid to his “office” since it is our house. I really do not have any day to day involvement in his work, aside from keeping him on schedule and making sure he is not spending all our money on links. The whole not being involved is 100% his decision. He doesn’t want to have a weird gray area in our life when we don’t know if we are married Ian & Kristen or business Ian & Kristen and I respect that.
I will not lie, I do sit at these conferences and take notes, which could fuel the whole I look like I am just one of them because sometimes the shit they are saying can pertain to other aspects of life, not just the SEO industry. That might be my next blog post, hmmm. I will say the one thing that does get me annoyed is when my husband is having a full-on conversation during something I am trying to listen to, I mean where did his manners go? We can’t all be the smartest guy in the room.
It is a lot easier to blend in at smaller conferences, which may sound odd, but typically they are for newbies – which is exactly what I am. This fall however I tagged along to a medium-size conference with him and let me tell you, there is no difference, he still talks during presentations, he still has very long days, but this one I got treated to a very nice steak dinner – with 11 other men. I have attended this conference before, but it was in Napa, we went with friends, and I just went to wineries with my fellow spouse companion while our significant others attended the conference. Yup, I find all the ways to enjoy myself and make it look like business.
In all seriousness though, it takes a lot for a marriage to survive being together 24/7, conferences and all. You can’t have distractions. You can’t project your bad mood onto them. You have to not forget who you are, even when you are surrounded by 200+ clones of your husband.
I would not change this adventure for anything. I get to be with him when I want. I get to see him doing what he is good at, and I get to make amazing relationships with other people along the way.
Stop going through the day to day motions of working for someone else if it doesn’t make you happy. Life is supposed to be the best adventure you have ever had, and that is what we are doing. That is why we are doing what we are doing, and 2020 is not going to be any different.