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Five Percent Travel

September 17, 2014

I’ll see you next week, right?

You will? Where?

In Richmond.


Aren’t you still coming out for the launch?

Right. The launch. . . what line of business are we launching?

I started a new job about six months. Actually it was exactly six months ago today, March 17th. The original job posting was for a product manager. My job is to work with one of our biggest clients. I’m a dedicated PM. That means that when the client travels to one of our call centers so do I.

That’s not exactly how it was presented. The original posting didn’t mention travel. I asked about travel more out of habit than anything.

Probably not more than 5%.

I thought maybe an occasional conference. Maybe a trip to Texas to meet the client. There are 2080 work hours in year. (40 hours per week times 52 weeks.) Five percent is 104. I love my job. I like my boss, but he totally lied to me about that travel commitment.

In the past six months I’ve been to:

Texas: Twice
Richmond, VA: Three or four times (I honestly don’t remember which.)

In the next six months I’m scheduled to go to:

Texas: Once
Richmond: Three times
Louisville, KY: Three or four times

Flying isn’t as fun as it once was. Every trip involves at least once layover. Security is annoyingly invasive. The seats are so close together that the “sardine can” analogy is more true than not.

However, flying represents some unique opportunities. I’ve met with my company president in informal brainstorming sessions. I’ve had to make on-the-fly decisions that fortunately turned out to be right, but would have been passed through some layers of management if I weren’t at a remote site. And there is really no substitute for meeting people in the same room.

Being there in person changes people from a just a voice on the phone to real people. You can work with real people. A voice on the phone has no real substance.

So, I’ll keep packing my kit, shoving my overstuffed bag into the overhead bin.

I travel because I have a job. And having a job is much better than the alternative.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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