Saturday, July 9, 2005

Unexpected Business Travel

I'm in Chicago on business as I make today's posting, so it won't see the site for a couple of days. I expect to be back in Indiana on Saturday. The topic of today's entry is mostly how much I hate business travel.

With my current employer -- and if you've looked at my site at all and ready any of my past entries, you know that I'm a Retail Store Manager, though I've never said what Retailer and I probably never will identify the Retailer -- sends me periodically -- myself and other Store Managers -- on business trips. Trips to our Corporate Headquarters for training, or meetings. Trips to other markets for Grand Reopenings, or Grand Openings. Most of the time with very, very short notice. Most of the time with no opportunity to really plan. It's impossible to take any family with you. I've always felt that employers should allow you to travel with your family. I believe that a person is more productive when their life is disrupted a little bit less. And it is a little bit less disruptive, I believe -- I know I would be less disrupted -- if my family was here with me. I miss both my wife and my son terribly.

Yesterday I was speaking with my wife on the phone and as she does often she handed the phone to my son and I talked to him. He's not a big talker yet, but he listened on the phone for the longest time that he ever has as I spoke to him and -- well, you know I just came up here yesterday and I had only been away from home for six or eight hours at the time and it nearly brought me to tears.

I'm staying in a hotel that's too far from the store that I'm currently at to make it worthwhile. I spend way too much time driving back and forth. I'm here from open in the morning until closing at night, which makes for a very long fourteen or fifteen hour work day -- actually a little bit longer than that. Last night I went to the hotel, and the hotel I'm staying at is by the highway. My room overlooks the highway and every single car that drove down the highway past my room sounded like it was driving right through the room. So I got very little sleep and I am very tired today, and the day today has barely started.

So, that's pretty much all I have. This is my rant entry. I haven't made many of those lately. But I feel the need to rant about how companies -- about how Corporate America -- these days expects their employees to get up and go and run here and there and get very little of anything for it. I get paid mileage, but there's no additional compensation for my time away from my family, for my time away from home, for the fact that in my belief, anyway, travel is a 24 hour shift because I'm away from home and I have no opportunity to go home and no option to go home. I believe it's a 24 hour work day, and when you have three or four of them back-to-back -- or more -- as I've had in the past, it can tend to get quite old and be very demanding, both on the employee and on the employee's family.

So that's my rant, and I'll let you get back to what you've got to be doing, because nobody wants to listen to me rant forever, I'm sure. I hope that your employer -- if they send you on travel -- you get a little more notice and a little more consideration than I received, and that you get to take your family with you. I know that would make all the difference in the world. In fact, on one previous trip -- the last trip that my employer sent me to this same town -- I brought my family and we got to, in some off hours, enjoy some culture and some things in town that alone I don't bother to go out and do. I'm a family man and I'd rather be with my family. I don't get up and go out to places and go do things. I pretty much leave my work place to go back to my room and then I get up from my room the next morning and go back to my work place, and that's how my trip goes. So hopefully yours will go better when you have them -- if you have them -- and hopefully you can take your family along with you, and hopefully some day I'll be in a position where I can dictate more of that myself.

Thanks for visiting, and if you have any comments, as always, drop me a line.


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