This weekend, I am heading to San Antonio for the 2011 Academy of Management Meeting/Conference. Over 6,000 academicians and scholars will be coming together to discuss the latest advances in management thought in some 25 subfields (HR, Technology & Innovation Management, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior....the list goes on). Put together all those Ph.Ds, the Riverwalk, and 105 degree weather, and I know you are guaranteed a good time. It will be an excellent opportunity to catch up with old classmates and friends from other Colleges and Universities.
I have, however, not attended in a number of years. I do enjoy getting my learning on, but, unfortunately, there is this status thing, a cult of personality if you will, going on that is rather off-putting. Let me explain. When I was a young academician straight out of grad school and attending the meetings, it was not uncommon to see "colleagues" look in your eyes than down to your name badge. If your name or school affiliation was worthy, a conversation might be started up. If you were deemed unworthy, the colleague moved on to engage in a discussion with someone else who was perceived to be more important. Mind you, this was not an isolated incident that happened at a single conference; instead, it happened multiple times at several conferences. Not good, and cooled me over the years from attending over the past few years.
So, why I am returning? One of the side events of the Academy meetings is the Career Fair where in a number of big hotel ballrooms, hundreds of schools and hundreds of fresh Ph.D. graduates and professors looking to move will be looking for that "love connection." To wit, I will be putting on my HR hat and conducting actual HR work. I am the Chair of the Search Committee for a new Assistant Professor of Business Administration for our school. I've been combing over curriculum vitae left and right over the past few weeks and setting up some 30+ interviews that will take place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The hope, of course, is that we will find a set of candidates that will be worthy of a second interview, and then a visit to our campus before the final rose ceremony.
I am looking forward, with a little trepidation, to see if things have changed as well as finding that new work colleague.