Any reader who travels extensively as part of work can skip this post because you know the realities. We travel to trial venues for mock jury research and the reality is that traveling for work is work in itself. Over the years I have had friends whose jobs do not involve travel say our job must be fun because we “get” to travel. Prospective employees have also made this comment. It does not take one long, however, once starting work on a traveling job, to understand the extra work that is involved. Packing, loading, unpleasant airport experiences (too numerous to mention), strange towns, and unfamiliar restaurants are all a part of the experience. Flight delays, traffic jams, local transportation of all of our gear – those are other experiences. And, then, there are the hotels in which we stay. Hotels often have lots of amenities, but given our work schedules for research – starting at 7 or 8 a.m., ending between 9 and 11 p.m. usually, there is often no time to even look out a window! I am not complaining; I know this all comes with the territory and while it will be taxing and frustrating, we have to go “on location” to get the job done correctly. I mention this simply to say what may seem fun, romantic, and exciting is probably not. And, even though Melissa and I, as co-owners of the business, try to build in a little fun, like an extra day sometimes in some places, it is good to get home.
I can’t begin to count the number of times that, upon returning home from a business trip, I have sung (loudly):
“Gee, but it’s great to be back home.
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend.
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.”
These lyrics are from song by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel entitled, “Keep the Customer Satisfied.” Keeping the customer satisfied is the sole reason I travel for business. I go where I need to go, to perform the work I need to perform, on behalf of my clients. Sometimes, I travel alone; other times, I travel with one other person; still other times, I travel with a team of people. The number of people with whom I travel varies, depending on the purpose and scope of the work we are undertaking for our client/customer, however, the common denominator is that we are traveling because we are required to do so by someone else. I don’t know about most people, but for me, being required to do something is rarely fun and games; it is usually work. So, the next time you meet a road/air warrior like me, refrain from glibly saying, “Oh, you travel for your job! I bet that’s fun!” or even worse, particularly when you are talking with a woman, “Oh, you travel for work! Are you a flight attendant?” (I usually answer this inane question with, “No, I drive a semi truck, hauling ammunition.”) Traveling for pleasure and to places chosen by the traveler may be fun, but traveling for work is work.