So here it is day four of my conference – one more day (actually half day) to go before we wrap things up. I was sitting in a very boring session this afternoon and started thinking about what I’ve learned here. Yes, I’ve managed to steal an idea or two that I will take back and implement in my office, but what comes to the top of my mind when thinking about what I’ve learned are the following:

1. People in D.C. can NOT drive. I’ve never seen anything like it. Except in Mexico perhaps. Everyone runs red lights – six or seven cars at a time. Everyone makes left-hand turns in front of oncoming traffic as if they have the right-of-way – again, six or seven cars at once. Everyone makes illegal u-turns in front of oncoming traffic with full expectation that the oncoming cars will gladly stop and allow them their illegal u-turn. And what amazes me most is admist all of the complete chaos out there on the roads, very few people honk their horns. Now keep in mind that I lived in San Francisco. I understand big city driving. But this is one city whose driving I just don’t get. It’s crazy, folks. Just crazy.

2. I’ve learned that H.R. people are always talking about the fact that they want to be strategic partners in the workplace. More than a few of our speakers brought up the fact that we’ve been talking about working at the strategic level for many, many years and most of us aren’t there yet. Well HR folks out there, take note. This will sound harsh, but it’s the world we live in so pay attention. By and large, the majority of the 13,000+ HR people at this conference are frumpy, overweight women who dress poorly. I told you it would sound harsh, but I swear to you it’s true. And the reality is that if we as HR people truly want a “seat at the head table”, if we truly want to be a strategic partner with the C-Suite, then we need to dress and act the part people! HELLO! Now of course there are exceptions out there … but I’m talking about the majority of women at this conference. Frumpy. Overweight. Bad clothing choices.

3. That it’s difficult to find true Mexican food in D.C. – at least anywhere within walking distance of the convention center. Plenty of tapas places – a few of which I tried and enjoyed – but being that I’m a Mexican food fanatic, I wanted the real, authentic stuff. No such luck. Anyone care to guess the first meal I’ll have when back home in California? Yeah, baby! Bring me some carne asada, thankyouverymuch!

Although I’ve enjoyed all but the weather here in D.C., I simply can’t wait to get home to my little man. He will be fast asleep by the time I get home, but I will – without doubt – wake him up and bring him to bed to cuddle with me all night long. I know, I know .. me, the mom who’s been trying to get him to spend the night in his own bed can’t wait to get home to bring him to mine. It will have been five long days since I’ve held him close and I’m afraid I won’t be able to wait a single second longer. Not one single second.