Sorry for the long periods between posting recently, I’ve been out-of-town on business for most of several weeks and while I’ve had the iPad I haven’t had the energy to do much thinking after I get back to the hotel room after a long day.
Many people think that traveling for work is some kind of party and maybe if you’re a big shot or pampered sales slick that may be true but the reality is that most business travel is stressing and it gets worse as it grows longer and more frequent.
Most people travel via airliner these days, but they think most businessmen travel in first class or business class. In fact most of our travel is done in ‘cattle class’ and while we do have points etc that allow the occasional upgrade those perks are less common today because most business city pairs are heavily traveled and the aircraft are often near capacity with few opportunities for upgrade.
While I and most business travelers stay in mid class hotels like Hampton Suites, Marriott Garden’s etc we do not stay at Hyatt’s that often (barring my last trip, but DC/Alexandria/Arlington are a bit of a special case….there a Hyatt is lower middle rank.)
When you travel often you find out just how unreliable air travel is. I traveled about one week in two last year, though it felt like much more, but of those 28 some trips, I was stuck at an airport for longer than the scheduled time some 20 times (remember that most trips involve 4 ‘legs’ in the air) and I had to stay overnight 4 times.
Also when you are working away from the office/home you are most likely not going to work regular hours. When I am working at my company’s office (900 some miles from my home and home office) I am usually there from around 7:30 to 6:30 and often later. I then have to find a meal and get back to the hotel to do some reading, writing or TV watching before going to sleep.
When out on the road you will often have dinner late talking, write-up notes afterwards, then and wake up early to do eMails, wait around for a meeting in the middle of the day, catch a flight after navigating your way around an unfamiliar city and then do the whole thing again.
Many people disparage business travel in general and some executives seem to think that travel is something they should do and the mid rankers and below should do everything via the internet. This is arrogance talking, ask one of these folks why they should travel and they say that the personal meeting gives them a better feel for their opposite part and how ‘real’ they and their business are. The same is true for the sales / solutions / engineering folks as well. The chances of misunderstanding are much higher with someone you have never met personally than with someone you have met and worked with for a few hours in person. Seeing the real equipment and facilities that are the environment of the program provide a vast repository of background ‘insight’ that no amount of internet transmitted data offers.