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Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own trip

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 28, 2008
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I was invited to be a speaker to a conference that I've always wanted to speak at--but its a non-profit organization and I'm not a 'major' speaker, so there's no funding available to help with travel/hotel costs. Travel would be around $300, hotel..let's say another $400 or so I think for a room, then food, cab to and from the airport, tips, etc.--an honest guess for the four day conference would probably be around 1k. I want to go. I really, really want to go. I don't want to for a career or resume boost; its something I want to do out of love because its a topic I like to talk about and think that it would have a meaningful impact on the group I'm speaking to. It may pan out to be an opportunity to meet others doing big things, but..who knows as its a big conference. 1k is just a lot of money for me. This fall, I start graduate school, and I will have to take out loans for first time. I want this, but I could just as easily ask to be called upon a few years from now once I am working and can actually comfortably afford to go. What do you all think? Go and do something I'd like to, or save the money cause I ought to?
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Hi Indy -
my first instinct would be to say do it, but than again it depends..will the same topic be spoken about at the same conference again in coming years?

I'm not sure of your current situation, but can you find even partial funding from your employer, college or a community organization involved with your subject?
 

Amys Bling

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

My fear is what if you are not asked to speak on this topic again???? It seems like this is something you have always wanted to do so I am leaning towards yes....
 

megumic

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

If you can swing it, don't pass up an opportunity that is in the present. You may never have the opportunity again. And, as you mentioned, you truly believe you'll have an impact on the guests. I would do it.
 

soocool

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Will you at least be paid an honorarium for speaking? Your associated travel costs should be tax deductible as long as you have your receipts and a letter that they invited you to speak, date, etc....
 

Circe

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

This almost made me giggle - in my field, nobody but nobody ever gets paid for a conference. I think that, maaaaaaaaaaybe Guests of Honor generally have their fees and possibly their room and board paid, but even a piddling honorarium would be unusual. If we're tenure-track, our universities set aside some money for travel ... but in this economy, at state and city schools, that's like, $500 per annum (it adds up if you have to go to a couple of conferences a year, and as Indy indicated, won't cover even half of one!). And you have to go to them to maintain a professional reputation. Catch-22.

So ... yeah, I've been used to spending a couple of K a year on conferences for the last decade. Not so bad now, but when I was a grad student scraping by on a stiped? Yeesh. I say, go.

soocool|1307707240|2942429 said:
Your associated travel costs should be tax deductible as long as you have your receipts and a letter that they invited you to speak, date, etc....
As SoCool says, everything associated with it is deductible.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Circe|1307718884|2942512 said:
This almost made me giggle - in my field, nobody but nobody ever gets paid for a conference. I think that, maaaaaaaaaaybe Guests of Honor generally have their fees and possibly their room and board paid, but even a piddling honorarium would be unusual. If we're tenure-track, our universities set aside some money for travel ... but in this economy, at state and city schools, that's like, $500 per annum (it adds up if you have to go to a couple of conferences a year, and as Indy indicated, won't cover even half of one!). And you have to go to them to maintain a professional reputation. Catch-22.

So ... yeah, I've been used to spending a couple of K a year on conferences for the last decade. Not so bad now, but when I was a grad student scraping by on a stiped? Yeesh. I say, go.
This is all true in my field too. I am fortunate to be in an area that gets a lot (well, relatively) of grant money so my conferences have been funded by grants for years, but if no grant money is there, out of pocket it is!

It looks really good on your vita and will help you get scholarships. Worth the investment IMO.
 

Aoife

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Do it if you possibly can. The opportunities for networking are priceless, and if you put in the effort to make those contacts, chances are good they will pay off at some point.
 

slg47

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

wow, I am surprised there are fields where people pay to go to conferences! I had no idea...
 

Haven

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

I agree with DD and others that it's worth the investment to attend this conference.

I only have $1,000 per year available for travel and conference expenses at my current school, so this year I'll end up spending about an extra $1,000 out of pocket to make it to the conferences at which I'm speaking. I still think it's worth it since this is something I really ought to be doing.

It's also a good idea to see if there are any grants or alternative funds available to cover this trip. I learned too late that we have a pool of grant money available for travel in my particular field, and I definitely intend on applying for that next year.
 

mayerling

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

slg47|1307723701|2942587 said:
wow, I am surprised there are fields where people pay to go to conferences! I had no idea...
I wouldn't call this "paying to go to a conference". Covering your travel and subsistence to attend a conference isn't paying to go to a conference. Presumably you're accepted or invited first and then it's up to you whether you go or not.
 

Circe

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

mayerling|1307724723|2942610 said:
slg47|1307723701|2942587 said:
wow, I am surprised there are fields where people pay to go to conferences! I had no idea...
I wouldn't call this "paying to go to a conference". Covering your travel and subsistence to attend a conference isn't paying to go to a conference. Presumably you're accepted or invited first and then it's up to you whether you go or not.
Well ... in my field, there are also additional registration fees. They're not outrageous, generally - $50 for students, $100 or $200 for full scholars - but they add up, too. Whereas I can barely believe that there are conferences that pay their attendees!

I hear some people get published for publications, too ....

::wistful::
 

slg47

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

let me clarify...I am surprised that people pay out of pocket for conferences.
 

mayerling

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

slg47|1307725574|2942627 said:
let me clarify...I am surprised that people pay out of pocket for conferences.
I see. Yes, I find that surprising too. In my field, if the university doesn't fund conference attendance, most people just don't go - at least I don't.
 

VRBeauty

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Absolutely go if you can swing it. Go because you're passionate about your topic, go because it's an investment in your future. Besides, I assume it's a bit of an honor to be invited to speak in the first place - go because it will be good, nutritious (and well-earned) ego food. Is there any possibility of sharing a room, and possibly cab costs, with someone?
 

zoebartlett

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

slg47|1307725574|2942627 said:
let me clarify...I am surprised that people pay out of pocket for conferences.
I'm not a teacher at the college level, but yes, it's common to pay out of pocket expenses. I'm lucky in that at my school, we get a certain amount of $ for workshops, conferences, and classes. If we go over that (and many times we do), we have to pay the costs ourselves. Oh, and if you're traveling to get there (you know, further than the next few towns over), then those costs are up to you to take care of.

Indy -- congratulations! I think it's a great opportunity and I'd do it. It is a lot of money to fork over but if you can swing it, I'm sure it will be a great experience.
 

Indylady

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Thank you all for the answers! You all have given me so much to think about. I am on the run right now but I will be back by this afternoon so that I can respond individually.

I've only spoken at one other academic conference, and we were reimbursed for travel costs, etc. but it sounds like that might have been an exception rather than a rule! So this means that most conferences cost around 1k and I'm likely to have to fund them on my own :-o . Ok--I have to run but I will be back in a couple hours!
 

luv2sparkle

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Indy, I am so curious. Can you share what your topic would be?
 

Indylady

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Thank you all! Thank AJ, Amy's Bling, Meg, Socool, Circe, Dreamer, Aoife, Slg, Haven, Maylerling, VR, and Zoe!


Wow--an overwhelming trend of yes! I really didn't expect the responses to all say the same thing. Sadly, I actually agree with the posts. Its something I really want for the reasons I explained about, and it kind of feels good to show off what I've learned after being in school for so many years. I know this totally the wrong way to think about it, but 1k for a weekend almost sounds..decadent to me. Yanno? I'm not being a 'cheap-skate'..I am just already a little worried about how much I'll have to take out in loans this August as I start school--its going be at least 20-30k for the first year alone. :knockout: :(sad I'm just sort of balking at that. Any other year, I'd say "YES!!!!" before you could even blink; its just, the debt load I'm likely to take on is just disenchanting. I work hard, save hard..its just not enough; that's another thread entirely of course, its just what's making the decision hard. Thank you again for your responses! You have all given me a lot of food for thought, which is very much appreciated!
 

Tacori E-ring

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

I would go as well. It is such an honor to speak and a great networking opportunity. Congrats!!!
 

Haven

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Re: Help--invited to be a speaker but I have to fund my own

Oh IndyLady, I feel your pain. I know it's so easy for me to say "GO FOR IT!" as someone who is finished with school (for now :cheeky: ) and earning a FT living. I remember facing that daunting mountain of student debt and feeling like it would always be just that--an enormous, insurmountable mountain.

Whenever I'm facing a tough decision about whether to *do* something I take some time to envision myself a) doing it, and b) abstaining, and then I try to figure out which one feels best. It may sound silly, but I would sit alone with a cup of tea or coffee and think myself through the motions of going to this conference, giving this presentation, and then going through the good things that I imagine will happen as a result of it--meeting new people in my field, making great connections, giving more presentations in the future, etc. I'd also envision that extra 1K on my student loan bill. THEN, I'd envision myself at home during the conference, and try to determine how that will feel. I'd look at that student loan balance without the 1K, and figure out how THAT feels.

I know this may sound totally silly, but when I played sports I used to do this sort of thing (go through the game in my head and envision myself kicking arse) and that practice bled into the rest of my life and I now use it as a tool to explore options when I can't make an easy decision. Feel free to mock me if this sounds ridiculous, by the way!

The good news here is that you can't really make the wrong decision. If you go to the conference, I imagine you'll return feeling great and happy that you went. If you don't, I imagine you'll take solace in the fact that you didn't pile on the bills and will have more opportunities to speak in the future. Either way, congratulations for getting this opportunity, and good luck making your decision.
 
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