Business Travel Sucks
I don't remember the details exactly, but at some point in my very early childhood, me and the folks were flying to Pittsburgh for the holidays. I remember pop being really adamant about "flying 1st class so we don't have to put up with all the B__S___". I had already flown a few times with my mom and didn't know the difference but it sounded cool. Until we got on the plane. I remember thinking "This is it?" and wondering what the big deal was. Business travel has been the same sort of anti-climactic event. Except unlike flying first class, business travel actually sucks.
I don't mean when you're 22 and out of college that it sucks. Going places and meeting different people is cool. Until you've done it 20000000 times. Then it sucks. Actually, by the time you hit 4 digits on your travels, business travel will have long been sucking. Jobs involving travel sound cool and important, but seriously, unless you're young and out of school, it sucks.
In case you doubt me, I'm going to explain why in terms I don't think *anyone* can argue with:
1- Airports suck. Going to them sucks. Leaving them sucks. Waiting around for your baggage sucks. Standing in line sucks. Going through security sucks. Airline personnel are largely union which for some reason, makes them hate everyone. Assuming the union doesn't make them bitter, dealing with unappreciative obnoxious a-holes all day does them in every time. Until they make kid|idiot|slow people|complainer free airports, they will continue to suck (trust me, if you're reading this you won't see the day that this will happen)
2- Business travel isn't the same as recreational travel. Unless you don't matter, your home office is going to want you back as soon as possible. So when you leave, you have to come back, quickly. B/c of the travel time, in the 300000 I've been to Seattle, I've only got to hang out with friends about 10 of them. Only twice, and that was when I was self-employed, did I get to go to Portland and hang out with my homie + his lovely better 1/2. You call up friends, say "Hey, I'll be in town" and quickly come to realize unless you can squeeze in lunch or something, chances are you won't get to see them. When you don't, you always look like a douche for not stopping by
3- The only people that drive worse than the people in your city, are those that drive in other cities. Growing up in Miami, it really took a lot to impress me here. Most people had little problem doing 8 lane changes on I-95 and using your turn signal will get you arrested or killed. But you don't sit in traffic all freaking day. In fact, you can't even drive slow in Miami. In Seattle, it's great as long as you don't battle rush hour or get lost downtown. If you do, you'll end up around a bunch of crazed Scientologists, tranvestite prostitutes, drug addicts, vegan homeless kids with laptops and cell phones. It's awful. Pittsburgh, you'll end up going through a tunnel and never seeing daylight until the next day. Boston, well, my good buddy Michael is from Boston so I can't really advocate blowing it up and starting over - but it's not an argument without merit. Minneapolis? Hmmm, I ended up in the hood (scary even by Miami and Atlanta standards) WITH a GPS in the car, got lost every time I tried to get to our office, and got to ride in a taxi with the guy who was voted "Most likely to wage jihad against infidels via his taxi cab". You know it's a bad trip whenever you ask the cabbie "So, you had any famous people in your cab" and he responds "Sure, Keith Ellison and Ibrahim Hooper". "Yah, I was thinking something more along the lines of actors, athletes, models, hot chicks..." and I could just tell by his look and silence that none of those were coversation topics he enjoyed engaging.
More than that though, you have to navigate places you probably haven't been and you're in a hurry. If you do know you're way around, you can't stay anywhere long enough to enjoy it. Ick!
4- Time zones. My family goes to sleep between 9-10:00. I dont' sleep unless it's chemically enhanced by Ambien CR. So getting out of work at 6:00 means it's bed time for the folks at home. 7 makes it late and after that it's getting rude. Well, by the time you get back to your hotel or whatever it's usually too late to call. To make up for it, your loved ones may try to call you first thing in the morning. Which is usually around 4:00 AM
5- Flight delays, cancellations etc are non-billable in most contracts and most companies consider those in the non-billable hour pool meaning you aren't getting much for it. So even in benevolent companies like mine, flight delays get balanced on your free time. I mean, they need me back Monday to be at the client. If my plane is a day late, the client still needs me there. On seasoned engagements, if you can find a way to be billable (usually called VPN + Broadband) than that mitigates it if the client is cool, but the problem still remains.
6- The more you pack the less likely you'll be to get caught without something important. But the more you pack, the more you lug around, the more you have to wait for at Baggage and the more likely something will be broken or damaged. So you'll make tradeoffs and if you're like me, they'll always be the wrong ones.
7- Kids. Ok, if you *have* to fly with your kid, I hereby, just like my Catholic forefathers did, offer you a Indulgence (except mine's free). I'm not talking about the people that fly here and there with their kids. I mean the regular road warriors. And everyone else, all the new age parents with kids with annoying names like "Dakota, Cody, Madison, Taylor" [why are they all lame throwbacks to the wild west or distilled of gender to the point they are completely androgonous?] yes, that's who I'm talking about. I want you to have happy kids. I want your kids to have self-esteem. I really want the best for all of you. But can you do it without your stupid kid yelling and throwing tantrums the whole time right? If not, how about an apology? I know you have to have some pretty powerful sedatives on you, so how about sharing? No, no such luck. Instead, Trevor will kick the back of the seat the whole time b/c of his ADD and mom can't tell him to stop b/c of his self-esteem.
8-Rental Cars - it's hit or miss here. But in the terminals like DFW or San Fran, where you have to drive to another state on a bus before you get to the rental car terminal - yuck.
9- Unhot stewardesses. Ok, the hot comment is childish and infantile but I'm old enough to remember those days. Anyway, they get crapped on. They deal with the world's biggest a-holes at their worst so obviously these people are almost saintly just to be able to make it through a shift. Except the ones that aren't so nice. The ones that are bitter. The ones that - well, like the ones on my flight last night.
10 - Expense reports. REmember to always ask for a receipt. Make sure you got Neat Receipts or you better be orgainzed. Make sure you rush right home and do your reports. Even at places that are fast, the turnaround time is usually at least one pay period. Go racking up 3800k every two weeks like I did, and you can't miss too many of those before people start wondering if you're developing a drug or gambling problem. But you'll forget reciepts. You'll lose them. You'll throw some out by accident. That's when the fun starts.
I'm already funning twice as long as I wanted and I just got started. So trust me on this, Business Travel sucks.