Finding the Balance…. Juggling career and family life in the Convention industry

As the rest of the country welcomes students back to school, here in Las Vegas our kids have already been back for 3 weeks.  As the less hectic days of summer fade away and working Moms & Dads pick back up on the regimen so happily put on pause when school let out and the Convention schedule seemed to hit warp speed already, I asked a few of my Team members to look at our fast paced lives.  Balancing our careers and family…..a familiar struggle that many of us think about on a  daily basis.  How does one do it all?  Here’s a compilation of what it’s like to work in the business of trade shows, conventions, meeting planning and corporate events while balancing a full and healthy family life.

This is a pretty typical day.  Although life is crazy and hectic in this industry of trade shows and conventions, we wouldn’t change a thing.  However, we’re always striving to keep a healthy balance between work and personal life. The alarm goes off at 5:05 a.m.  The alarm goes off the second time at 5:10 a.m. …..Now, it’s time to open the shades and enjoy the beautiful blue sky that Las Vegas presents most mornings.  It’s going to be a beautiful and productive day…..

Jump in the shower and begin to take care of the many responsibilities that face the new day….in addition to getting myself ready, the other duties begin…wake up kids, make breakfast, make lunches, do the carpool thing, and finally arrive at the office.  Phweew….part one of the day is done.

Next…team meeting at 8:30, return phone calls and emails, last minute adjustments to deal with from the construction team on one of the custom exhibits that is being fabricated in the shop…more phone calls and more emails….before I know it, it’s time to take off to a lunch meeting with a new client.  After an informative and productive lunch meeting, off to the airport I go to pick up another client that just flew in from Brazil.

My Brazilian client and her team want a tour of the Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services facility.  We tour and have our meeting.  Next, I’m off to Las Vegas Convention Center where I have two other client exhibits being installed.  Driving to the Convention center is a great time to touch base (on blue-tooth, of course) with my project manager on the two other projects that are in process.

In route to the Convention center, my son calls and needs a ride to basketball since his arranged transportation suddenly became unreliable……oh darn??  Maybe not the term I actually thought of, but as I had a profane conversation in my mind, I made a quick u-turn at the next light and I am off to Summerlin.

Son is safely at practice and luckily hitting most lights green as I bee line through town to get to the Convention center I arrive a bit harried, but I am here.  Okay, take a breath and get moving, I have people to see.  The day comes to a close at about 6:30 and now home to make dinner…..actually Canes or Panda Express are sounding pretty good right now.

We set out to meet our work goals and somehow in the midst of it all, we forget that waiting at home is that young boy wanting to play catch, that teenage girl who needs to talk about boys, or that spouse that needs to be treated with all the attention we used to give when we were dating. Why does it happen? How does it happen? How can you prevent it from happening to you?

The trade show industry, with its many moving parts, can absorb a person’s time and mind with all of the details that need tending to.  From the design ideas at conception and the myriad of details on the fabrication, to the installation of the exhibit, our brains are in a process of organizing people, materials, time lines and clients.  These all consuming tasks can take its toll on our personal lives…impacting the ones we love in a negative way.  Don’t let this happen.  The key is to be organized at your job and have the ability to delegate tasks to others in the workplace.  Focus on these ten ideas to help you as you strive to balance your work and your family.

  1. Get your family together and craft a family mission statement. It’s just as important to be intentional as a family as it is in the workplace. We wanted our family to all be on the same page in terms of our life purposes and the principles that would govern our time together
  2. Carve out time for your family each week…in advance. Put it on your calendar. Stop saying you have to get one more thing done before you leave for home. Plan your week with specific ending times and stick to them.
  3. If your work situation requires constant excessive hours to get the job done, it’s time to evaluate other ways to accomplish the task. You can’t accomplish the mission of the organization single-handedly, so stop trying! Think of new ideas that will allow you to complete your responsibilities at work, even if this means delegating some tasks to others in the workplace.
  4. If you’re a leader of others, have them actually write into their job descriptions the need to be committed to their family and specific ways in which they will make this a priority.
  5. Develop an activity together with your family as a whole, and/or with individual family members. Maybe it’s hiking, a date at Cracker Barrel for breakfast on Saturday, or coffee with your spouse each day. As you do this, remember that teachable moments are almost like ‘intentional accidents’: they happen, but not always because you planned them. So be sure to plan large quantities of time with your family throughout the year so they’ll have a chance to occur.
  6. Schedule a date night of at least an hour once a week with each child and your spouse, where you focus solely on them. It doesn’t have to be expensive; time is the critical ingredient here. When our budget has been tight, I’ve had this time in my backyard with my son.
  7. When you’re traveling, send an email or a postcard back to your family. Call them on the phone or video-chat and share the day’s activities.
  8. At the end of a day, ask your kids and spouse these two questions: ‘What happened today that you’re proud of?’ ‘What happened today that you wish you could do over?’

We hope, like us at Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services, you’re lucky enough to work for a forward thinking company that is not only stellar in operational procedures and leadership, but truly cares and understands the employees.  Our team is dedicated to providing clients with 24 hour availability, all while keeping in mind the very important and necessary fact that we want our team members to have a balance between career and family life.  At LV Expo we strive to work together as a team to collaborate in putting the customer first, while preventing burn out to individual team members.

From General Service Contracting, Custom Exhibit and Retail store build outs, I & D Labor Services, or Exhibit Storage and Logistics to Corporate Events, Large Format Graphics or 3D design, our Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services Team can handle any project large or small.  Give us a call or email so we can free up time for you to meet the obligations and tasks of parenting and have a little time left to enjoy your family.

Mitch Isaacs, , VP Marketing, Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services, 702-248-6200,

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