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Letter to your boss

First time asking your boss to send you to a conference?  Need help convincing him or her?  Here’s a sample form letter you can use. Feel free to edit it, customize it, make it your own.

Subject: A request to help me be more effective in 2010

[manager's name here],

With the bad economy it is even more important that we do more with less and “work smarter, not harder.”  We have a lot of great hardware/software in our network and I would like to learn how to use it more effectively. We hear about new technologies all the time, but finding out which ones will benefit us is hard. There is a flood of new free/open source software, but learning about what is useful is difficult. Lastly, as I advance in my career I find that I need to learn more about non-technical issues like time management.

I’ve recently heard of a training conference in central New Jersey that will provide training in many of these areas. It is run by a non-profit called The League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA).

Sessions are focused in three “tracks” and I will be able to mix and match as needed:

Track 1: Training — Paid professional trainers with national and international reputations
Track 2: Talks — Keynotes, invited talks, and papers on hot topics
Track 3: “The Unconference” — Community-based panels, discussions, and talks

There are many sessions I’d like to attend but these seem to be the most important:

  1. (Look at the training page for suggestions)
  2. (Pick 2-3 topics that your boss will find to have undeniable value to his/her priorities)
  3. and many more

Additionally this conference will help me develop my connection to the local IT community, which will help me through-out the year. You see, I can “google” for most of my specific technical questions, but having connections to the community will help me because “it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Being a regional conference, with nationally-known speakers, means the cost is very low.

The approximate breakdown of conference costs is:

  • Conference Registration: $475 (check http://lopsanj.org/events/picc10/registration )
  • Hotel: <$89/night + tax (about $103 after tax). Most attendees will want to stay in the hotel Thru+Fri, or just Fri, or none if you are local to New Brunswick>
  • Travel: <your best estimate on milage to here>
  • Meals: <best estimate> <most meals are included, but not Fri/Sat breakfast or Saturday dinner)
  • Total: <total>

Note: The above estimate assumes I can register before March 15, otherwise the price goes up $75.
Note: If we register 4 or more people at once, we can save an additional 10% (would you like to go?)

This is a 2-day conference, Friday plus Saturday, thus minimizing my time away from the office while enhancing my skills and networking. Using one business day and one day of my own time seems like a fair deal.

I will submit a written report post-conference that will include summaries, major takeaway concepts, techniques or tips and action items for each of the sessions that I attend during the conference. In addition, I would be happy to give brief presentations to departmental colleagues or other groups within our organization.

If you would like more information on LOPSA and/or the NJ-PICC’10 conference, please visit www.picconf.org

I hope I’ve outlined the goals and benefits and that you agree that this training has undeniable value.

Let’s discuss this at your earliest convenience,
Sincerely,

<your name here>