The plain embarrassing.

So I have an example that illustrates just what I did to my brain. Take this as a cautionary tale of what working too much can do. Do not try to organise anything at the same time as finishing your PhD. It could end in disaster.

I pride myself in being organised. I triple check things. Always. Part of the perfectionist in me. I found two conferences I wanted to attend in Europe in the summer of 2014. I got permission to go to them from my supervisor. I write two abstracts.

I have been given an amazing opportunity to give my first international oral presentation at one of the conferences and a poster at the second. I was also incredibly lucky to receive financial assistance to attend both conferences by the organisers. All of this is awesome. I am really pumped.

Here is a run down of the truly embarrassing mistakes I have made organising these conferences.

For the first conference. I forgot to include the title for my abstract. Need to email them. They correct the grammar of the title. Awesome, pink cheeks.

I forget to include my supervisor on the abstract. Need to send an email.

Need to change title as I now have an oral presentation and my title is not good enough. I spent 20 minutes thinking up the old bad title. Think of new title. Get supervisors help. All good. My title has one word used twice that does describe exactly what I did but its cumbersome. They change my title again. Thoroughly red cheeks.

So now I am thinking wow that was so embarrassing.

Next step is to pay registration. Need to enable cookies to do so. Hmm not good. I usually disable them. I used my Linux machine with two different browsers, enable cookies and try to pay it. Each browser had problems with the rego website.

Tried my tablet. Nope. Now I am desperate, the only option I have left is to use a Windows machine. It too did not work. Now I feel like a complete moron. Next day I get up look at my bank balance and I have paid the rego five times. Not kidding. I won't admit to how much money that was. It was a lot. I can't believe it. I am a complete moron. The visa verification on the site did not work properly for me. So each time I assumed it failed.

I phone the bank. They froze the money but thankfully were unable to send the money on to pay the rego anyway. Okay this is not so bad. I money will be returned to me. So I have to email the conference organisers again. This time to say there is a problem with the website, so they manually charge me. All good its finally paid.

I should point out at this point that the conference organiser who I am emailing is a professor in my field. He is highly respected and someone I would love to work with. I guess he remembers my name now. Sigh ... fail. So far I have stuffed up all components of organising this conference.

Oh but there is more.

I know how expensive the motel is going to be. Its an expensive city. I also know I need to book a motel soon. So I go through all the options. They are all so incredibly expensive. I find one that is nice, simple, breakfast, wifi and a walk to the conference. I only need something simple. I did not want to waste too much money on a motel. I make the booking. I checked the date 10 or so time. There was no way I was going to make that mistake.

Made the booking, tell them I am there for the conference, that I get a reduced quote and the amount I expect to pay. All good right? Wrong. I get charged the full cost of the room. I email them, tell them about the mistake and they say there is nothing they can do about it. Awesome. The room was more than I wanted to pay to begin with and now its 130% of the amount I expect to pay. Not cool. At least I got the dates right or I would have had a panic attack.

Oh but wait there is even more. The organisers are looking after the flights for me. Great news. Cause it means I can't make a mistake. Nope, apparently I still can. I get the dates of the two conferences mixed up because I think that they are back to back. They are not. There is a month separating them. So I made plans to fly from the wrong city. Flights are not booked yet. This might be fixable. I realise my mistake while trying to book a motel for the other conference. Email the first conference to say I need to change my flights. Sigh. I am lucky and the change to the flights is fine.

So now I need to organise flights for the other conference and a motel. What more can possibly go wrong.

Be this a warning to you. I have never made any of these mistakes before. I am a perfectionist and I always check them. Always. I even checked for all of these mistakes before I made them. Honestly. I tripled checked them too.

This is what your brain does to you when you spend six months or more with no weekends, no work life balance and too much stress. It can happen to you too.

Continue to the next part of this blog: It was character building »