Now aren't you glad you went to all that effort?

This IT consultant pilot fish really likes his job -- including the opportunity to travel for conferences and training.

And he tries to make the most of it. "In the past, people here were very lazy about it," fish says. "They took turns cycling through the same events year after year.

"I compiled a list of every conference I could find that might be relevant to our mission, and as the contract for the next period of performance was coming up, I created a 'wish list' and submitted it to our customer."

To fish's surprise, all but one of the eight conferences are OKed by the customer.

The outlier? Fish has previously volunteered to go to a conference in Hawaii in December -- mostly as a joke, but also to burn off any unused training and travel budget for the calendar year. Not surprisingly, that hasn't been approved, but the event remains on his wiki page.

Sometime after fish gets the customer's approval of his conference plans, he gets a request from management for the list, so his company's contracts people can put destinations and funding into the new contract. Fish sends it off promptly.

A few days later he gets an email from a project manager, asking for the same information in a different format. The project manager also comments that fish should pare the list down "so it wouldn't look like we were flying to conferences every week."

That sounds odd to fish -- he's already gotten customer approval for the seven conferences on his list, which isn't close to a ticket a week.

Then he opens the budget-estimate spreadsheet that's attached to the project manager's email in order to add his information -- and gets an eyeful.

"This non-technical project manager put himself down for highly technical conferences like Black Hat and Interop -- both in Las Vegas -- and the one in Hawaii. All while telling me to shorten my list and be prepared to not get the ones I had requested," says fish.

"In all, his request added up to 25 percent of the conference budget being requested."

Sharky never goes anywhere -- I just stay right here, waiting for your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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