When to invest in yourself?

I know you must spend money to make money. But as a freelancer, I’m finding this to be a difficult call to make, particularly as the cost of living in Chicago and the state of Illinois is taking a sharp upward turn. This would be a typical return-on-investment analysis…except that the investment is in myself. Here’s the thing: I want to attend an NIH workshop and seminar on grant submission and administration, but can I justify the expense? Will it help my business grow? From what I can tell from the agenda, the program is exactly what I need – filling in the blanks so that I can become an expert NIH grantwriter. Yet…I continue to hesitate. What to do, what to do?

After taking a couple days to ponder this–and knowing that I may still change my mind–the reasonable thing to do is to compromise. I’ll attend the seminar, but not until 2012, when it’s in Indianapolis and the travel will not be as prohibitively expensive. Stinks that there is a resource out there that could really fuel my professional development, but that is out of reach at the moment. Alas, I have always been good at educating myself (you have to be in order to write about various fields of science and medicine), so I will continue devouring as many grantwriting books and Web sites and advice from colleagues as I can until next year. Unless, of course, I do something drastic and register for the seminar anyway…

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