Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On Work Travel

I've talked about work travel throughout the fall, but have spoken mostly in generalities and talked about how tired I was or how much I missed home or how spread thin I've been.  I thought maybe it would be helpful to do some level-setting and explain to you why I am not exactly jumping for joy over the fact that I made status on Delta this fall (which means I completed at least 30 flights, 2/3 of which I flew in the span of 3 months).

Now before I go into the reasons that work travel is challenging for me, I want to make it clear that I am not looking for pityInstead, I just want people to think about what it is really like to travel so often!

This is why work travel is difficult for me:

- The hours are long.  When I am traveling for work, I rarely work 'normal' hours.  Typically my day will start at 7, I'll have a full day of meetings with clients and colleagues, and then usually drinks/dinner afterwards that will go until 8-10 pm.  Granted this doesn't happen every night when I travel, but it happens more often than not.

- There is no downtime/relaxing during the day.  On a typical day in my office, I definitely have time when I can sort of joke around with co-workers.  But when I am traveling, I am usually either meeting with clients or doing office visits and trying to build relationships.  Since many of these relationships are in their early phases, there aren't many laid back moments where I really feel like I can relax.  Instead I am always thinking about what I am going to say next, who I am going to sit with next, etc.

- Stuff piles up when you are gone.  Since my boss left, I no longer have a true back up to help with things while I am out of the office.  And while there is a lot that I can do from my blackberry/over the phone, I still need access to my laptop to really help people.  Plus no one listens to my voice message saying I am out of the office so I will sometimes comes back to multiple voice mails from a person, which then makes me feel bad because they think I am ignoring them.

- It's lonely.  This is a new phenomenon for me.  In the past, I never really felt lonely when I was traveling because the majority of my friendships were maintained over email/text/phone calls.  Now that I have a boyfriend it's different as I have grown accustomed to seeing him face-to-face multiple times a week.  So in the past it wouldn't bother me to go days upon days with out seeing anyone from my life back home, but now it does.  Plus I work erratic hours at times and when there is a time change involved, it can be hard to find a time to connect. This is something we both know we need to work on.

I think my attitude about travel will shift next year as my travel schedule SHOULD slow down (I hope).  I think if I hadn't traveled on average 3 weeks out of every month the last 3 months, I wouldn't be so burned out and tired of being on the road.  So far for January, I have trips to Charlotte and Austin planned, both of which should be a max of 2 days, which shouldn't be too bad.

So there you have it... I know travel is part of my job and I will embrace it to the best of my ability, but I do feel  like I kind of got robbed of the relaxing fall that I thought I was going to have and I am disappointed that I am not going into CFA study season feeling all that relaxed and refreshed.  But such is life - I will power through these next 5 months and focus on the freedom that awaits me come June 2nd.  And I do still have 1 week of freedom to enjoy (I start studying a week from today)!!

16 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Maybe because my dad traveled a lot for work when I was younger, I never really saw it as glamourous and you know how much I LOVE traveling, I still never wanted to do it for work. Also, now that I'm older- I would really NOT like the whole going out for drinks/dinner with work people I'm never going to see again thing. Definitely not my thing.

I definitely wish you were feeling more rested going into the CFA study season. Actually I wish you could just skip the studying part!

Stephany said...

Ugh, this doesn't sound fun at all. This is why I couldn't have your job! Haha. Traveling for work sounds fun in theory but when you're traveling as much as you did, I know it can be taxing and annoying!

I can't believe you have to start CFA studying in just a week!

Marlys said...

You can soon put 2012 to sleep and hope for a year of less travel! I've never been a big fan of traveling as I find it exhausting. I like my own bed!
Enjoy the week you have left before you start the last phase of studying for the rest of your life!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

That kind of traveling for work sounds exhausting and I know it is. The only upside is at least you get to see friends that live faraway. I am glad there is still some positivity in it!

Thank God this is the last round of CFA studying! I am sure looking ahead to the freedom you will have for good after this round is so motivating!

Leigh said...

On the rare occasion that I have I have to travel for work, it's usually just an up and back in the same day, but it makes me realize how tiring it would be for you! Hopefully things slow down for you in the new year

Nora said...

Travel definitely takes a toll on people! Up until I was in high school my dad traveled ALL THE TIME for work and it was hard on all of us and most especially my parents. I know it was hard for them to connect and for my dad to be able to relax, so I completely understand where you are coming from. I do not travel that much but when I do for the conferences I have to attend, I may add a day on the front or back to some sight seeing, but otherwise it's a lot of what you have said here (and no one in the home office gets that it's not all fun and games!)

I hope for you that the travel is less in 2013, especially with CFA studying and etc.

Raquelita said...

Traveling can definitely get tiring even when it's not for work, so I can sympathize. You are a trooper for doing so much of it here lately. I hope you can at least get a little rest over the week of Christmas so you feel somewhat rejuvenated as you go into CFA study mode.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

An honest and spot-on summary of why travel for work is hard. I would add that things also build up at home (mail must be sorted, bills must be paid, laundry must be done, dry cleaning must be dropped off, shopping must be done - when you travel, it limits the time in which you can do these things, also taking time away from seeing loved ones). I think there are countless other ways in which travel can be hard, but you definitely hit on some of the bigger challenges. Here's hoping you have a quiet travel season during the first half of the year, so you can focus on studying for the CFA.

Carolina John said...

so.... all you really need to do is move to Charlotte and you'll get to settle in for a while? It's good to have a boyfriend to come home to as well!

Alli said...

Ugh. You know how much I love to travel (for pleasure!), but in addition to everything you named travel also takes a toll physically. It's tiring and you're achy and sore from airline seats and strange beds. You amaze me because I definitely would've had a nervous breakdown at this point.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I've never traveled for work before.

Becky said...

I know I've said this before, but I don't know how you do it. Here's hoping your schedule slows down A LOT!

Amber said...

I really enjoy traveling for work but I only do it a couple of times a year and usually it's for conferences and things that are a little more fun - good opportunities to network etc! I would NOT want to travel as much as you do!! I've had a lot of comments this fall about all the events I've attended and them not really being "work" because I'm just going to eat/hang out whatever but it's ALL about building relationships and when you have to go to a breakfast at 7 am on a Sunday it's most definitely WORK! haha.

So glad your travel has slowed down, hopefully this weekend leaves you feeling a bit more refreshed!

qwerkyqook said...

That sounds like Josh's travel schedule too. It's INSANE! The days really are that long, and I can't even fathom having to be "on" till 10 or 11 pm every single night. He will then usually end up in the hotel room with the follow up work you are talking about, get barely any sleep, and do it again. You guys are machines! But hey, the airline perks are pretty nice, delta sky club, holla :)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Enjoy your one week of freedom! I know what you mean about the travel; I had status on Delta and United in 2009!!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

YES! I appreciate you saying this because people don't always understand that work travel is well...WORK. it's not like taking a trip with your loved one's and relaxing, it's long hours and sometimes really crappy flights and crappy food. :)

I found ways to make it enjoyable, but it was certainly tiring.