I was at the RSA Conference in London this week. As a recently-departed employee of the company that hosts the conference, it was a bit awkward. On the one hand, these people were my colleagues and friends. It was great to see them and have a beer.
On the other hand, both I and they have moved on. Lots has changed at RSA since I left, so their recent history is divergent. And I’m working in a market sector mostly unrelated to theirs, so there’s fewer shared business topics to talk about.
Perhaps the most awkward bit was trying to strike a balance between being friendly and not spending too much time lingering. I don’t know about you, but in the past I’ve encountered ex-employees at conferences where you get the sense that their lingering equals longing. As if they regretted leaving your company and yearned for the good old days.
I’m completely at peace with my choices. I wouldn’t trade my time at RSA for anything, nor would I second guess my move to a new & exciting company where I’m constantly challenged and learning new things. But I certainly miss my friends.
There is a slightly antique word “gadfly” that comes to mind. Seems apropos, at least the annoying bit. As in, don’t be a gadfly at the RSA Conference.