Spend any time on Facebook or Twitter following those in the industry and you’ll see plenty of it. Call it the “glorification of business travel.” Or, simply put, the #humblebrag version of business travel.
What I mean by this: Those talking about their massive business travel schedules, bemoaning the fact that they have to do it, yet most likely sharing as a way to promote themselves.
Hey, I can’t fault these folks for doing that. If I were in their shoes, with client meetings on two different coasts each week, or three speaking gigs in three cities in a week, I may do the very same thing.
But, before you glorify that lifestyle, and start making a goal to speak at 10 different industry events in 2014, I feel an obligation to tell you about the substantial downsides of that choice.
Because there are many, many downsides.
Yes, business travel can be exciting. Sure, in some senses, it can mean you’ve achieved a certain level of accomplishment (whether it’s making the client travel team, or in the speaking arena).
And yes, there can be some perks–like visiting NYC in the fall, and seeing a friend during the trip.
But, I see a lot of drawbacks. Let’s look at the list:
You’re workday was just elongated to 18 hours
Oh, you think I’m joking. As anyone who’s run a booth at CES knows how long those workdays can be. Even on the rare instances when I travel for business now, I find myself working non-stop because, what else is there to do when traveling? Don’t operate under the assumption that you do less on the road–you do much, much more.
Nutrition is completely out the window
Good luck finding foods that don’t include the word hamburger, steak or fried in the titles. It’s not impossible, but it’s much tougher to maintain a healthy diet when traveling. I mean, there’s a reason you see many salespeople that travel gain weight.
Exercise is non-existent
Remember that 18-hour workday? Well, it doesn’t exactly allow for an exercise regiment. I’m not saying no one sneaks in a run on the road, but you really have to work to find it.
Hours spent waiting–and waiting
30 minutes waiting in the security line. 15 minutes waiting to get on the plane. Another 40 minutes on the tarmac. 20 minutes waiting for your bags you almost lost. Another 20 minutes waiting to pick up your car. You get the idea. Travel is a waiting game. No fun here.
The older I get the more this one has phased me. I rarely get good sleep when I’m traveling for work anymore. For me, it’s a combination of sleeping in a foreign environment, and sleeping alone. For others, the reasons are different. But, sleep is always tough to come by on the road.
Stress levels are up–way up
If you’re traveling for work, you’re most likely either: 1) Visiting a client and giving some form of presentation, or 2) Presenting as part of an industry event or trade conference. Both can be stressful situations. I’m not saying you’re taking two antacids in the morning or anything, but the stress does wear on you. And, it has a exponential effect when combined with the other factors listed above.
You’re not home
When you’re 25, single and with no kids, this isn’t as big a deal. When you’re 35, married with two kids at home and one on the way, this is huge. Traveling later in your life is a chore. It is rarely something you look forward to. Instead, it is a necessary evil. Something you must do for work. Sure, travel has it’s fun moments, but you’re typically tired, stressed and away from the people you love most.
What do you think? You all most likely travel more than me anymore. I’d love to hear from you on this one…
Photo courtesy of Ed Kohler via FlickR Creative Commons.
Get Talking Points--my weekly e-newsletter--delivered straight to your e-mail inbox each Wednesday by signing up above. I'll provide you with insightful posts, useful how-to articles and other information designed to help YOU do your job better.