Before I spent more than 50% of my work week traveling, I thought those that did lead a prestigious life. Airplanes, site seeing at different places, and being important enough for others to ask for you to travel to (or for) them.
I have flown seven times in the past 4 weeks – in fact, as I type this on my “travel friendly iPad”‘ I’m en route to San Francisco in prep for a client upgrade pilot. I share this because I can say without hesitation and with authority that I am a BUSINESS TRAVELER, and it often sucks.
At least for me, as an employee of my present firm, it’s expected that you either fly on weekends or “after hours” so that you “give the most to our clients”. That really means, in my estimation, that they’d rather pay me to be productive in the office than sitting in a plane. This translates to long days – for me, this day of travel will exceed 15 hours. “ah,” you say, “but you can rest on the plane!”. Perhaps. Except, in reality, there are many things that beg to argue with that perception:
1. Airplanes are freaking uncomfortable, unless you fly first class. And let’s just say, at my firm that’s not an option.
2. People are inconsiderate. Cool TV in the seat? Most people, at least the ones that sit behind me, push the hell out of the touch screen. Picture my head bobbing with each push…..
3. People are inconsiderate #2. Many people see no issue with grabbing the seat in front of them to assist with hauling their butts up, steading themselves with it as they adjust in prep to go to the toilet, even if it’s nearly 11pm and the occupant of said seat is sound asleep.
4. People are inconsiderate #3. Loud conversations at 11pm. Yeah, do you see a trend?
So, the plane is not that great for rest and relaxing – or for work really. But what about the cool hotels? I admit, some are pretty awesome. But even the best, when you’re without your family and working 12 plus hours each day, the only real benefit of the hotels I use are I CAN SLEEP!
Further, though I’ve been able to travel to some pretty amazing spots in the US, I have had NO TIME to see many of the sites I’ve been to! I land, walk through the airport, get a shuttle to the hotel, sleep, go to my client’s site, work, go out to eat for dinner, and go back to the hotel to work and then to sleep. The one exception to this is a trip I made to Oklahoma last year where Deana and the kids came along – we got to see some sites in the evening that were nice. But really, even if I DID have time to see the sites (though that is often not true) I really don’t enjoy it when I am by myself. I’d prefer sharing the experience with my family or friends. Of course, I have NOT been able to travel to So Cal for work, and that would be an ENTIRELY different situation – I would hit up my friends and family QUICK if I made it out there!
So the moral to this story is, before you decide that your friend (who is about to go on a business trip) is “living the life”, instead pray for them to get plenty of rest and return safely (and quickly) to their family!