So I've been to a lot of conferences and trade-shows over the past 15 years, but the last two days at the SALT Interactive Technologies Conference in Crystal City has been refreshing and not just because I took the MARC down.
I also learned that taking public transportation from Western Maryland is sort of impractical, because each way the commute took over 2 hours. But I was able to work the majority of the time, so it wasn't wasted time and there were only a few places on the Brunswick Line the EVDO faded out.
My main objective in a attending the conference was to brush up on instructional design and get a jump start on e-Learning tools and technologies. But there were three things that I noticed that were refreshingly different from most of the technical security conferences I've been to as long as I can remember.
1) There weren't all the big egos.
2) The speakers could actually communicate effectively.
3) There was none of "the sky is falling"/"we are so F-d" talk that seems to be the norm.
Among the better presentations were by Marie-Pierre Huguet (on blending constructivism and behaviorism in instructional, a talk on thinking strategically (when developing eLearning solutions) by Mark Siegel.
There was also really good talk on rapid development of training using a modified spiral development model used quickly develop FISA training on the Protect America Act last summer. So you can guess the agency affiliation of these "DoD" and bah.com duo that gave the talk.
So if you've been doing security (or technology) for more than 5-6 years (that was about when I started to get restless and start wishing for a career change that would never come) I encourage you to find a business, or training, or knowledge management -- or something non-technical for a change of pace.
You won't regret it!