Gut Rumbles

January 17, 2005

business travel

Maybe I never learned to do it right, but I never got laid or did anything more exotic than drink a new-fangled beer on a business trip. I was on an expense account, too, spending the company's money. I should have lived high on the hog and sown some wild oats. But I never did... go figure that.

I agree with queenie.

When you tell your friends that you're going to exotic and potentially fun places, like Paris or Honolulu or New Orleans, they usually throw back some lip like "nice work if you can get it!" or "damn. sucks to be you.", all dripping with sarcasm. What most people don't realize - unless they, too, have done a lot of business travel - is that you don't get to actually enjoy any of the fun shit while you're in cool places on company time. Every minute that you spend on-site is a dollah bill, shareholder value, ticking down the drain like sands through the hourglass. You go from office to hotel, hotel to office, perhaps stopping to eat.

Usually, my travels meant getting up at 5:30 in the morning, being to a 7:00 meeting and staying there until about 5:00 in the evening. At the end of that ordeal, I wanted something to eat, (although I usually had to dine with someone I didn't want to be around) something to drink (I couldn't order a dozen shots of tequila and down them all in front of the person I was forced to dine with) and a bed to sleep in. (Thank Bejus my "host" didn't follow me back there.) Period. I had to rest up to do the same thing the next day.

Business travel ain't all it's cracked up to be.


Damned straight. I've been doing it for fourteen years, and frankly, the whole world looks the same from inside a hotel room/bar/factory.

I DID meet my wife on the road, some 700 miles from home. Only good thing I ever had happen to me.

Posted by: og on January 17, 2005 05:21 PM

It was great at Gateway 2000. Went to all their locations around the world, and evenings and weekends were usually mine to do with as I pleased.

Had to pay for my own leisure-travel train tickets and stuff, though. But Gateway was always glad to pick up the $7k Business Class plane ticket for the pan-Pacific flight. :-D

Posted by: GORDON on January 17, 2005 05:43 PM

The only upside to business travel these days is the possibility of an opportunity to beg off dinner and go meet a local blogger. Preferably one who likes to drink and bullshit.

Posted by: Velociman on January 17, 2005 06:01 PM

Depends on the industry. In my line of work, business travel is quite fun. Sky's the limit, and you typically never actually accomplish anything other than racking up frequent flier miles and destroying your liver.

'course, I had to go and fuck that up by going into business for myself. It's nowhere near as much fun when you have to pay for it yourself.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on January 17, 2005 07:05 PM

Sounds close enough to my very minimal experience at business travel.

Posted by: Jay on January 17, 2005 08:24 PM

Yeah, fly in, work my ass off and fly out. Miami was a treat, I saw the ocean --- from the plane --- twice. Then one of the customers stiffed me. Gotta love it.

I better not get started on the Upper Penninsula of Michigan in January. I was the only one sober on that job.

Posted by: StinKerr on January 17, 2005 09:08 PM

That's not ALWAYS true. I "had" to go to Oahu four times on business - starting up large AC motor controllers at a sewage lift station. Not a real pleasant place on the island, I assure you. On the fourth trip, my company paid for the plane ticket so my wife could travel along with me. I was supposed to do a 24 hour witness test the day after my arrival, so she was going to have beach time alone. However, they weren't ready for the test. I got two days off (paid!) with my wife on Oahu, with hotel, and rental car. All I paid for was her meals.

Sometimes, very rarely, nice things happen.

But don't ask me about my 13 days in Paris, working at EuroDisney.

Just... don't.

Posted by: Kevin Baker on January 17, 2005 09:55 PM

Must admit, been there done that! I'm sure there are exceptions, but by and large business travel is just that.... BUSINESS. And if you don't tend to the business, you won't be traveling much more on the company dime in the future!

Posted by: Bob on January 17, 2005 10:24 PM

I had three days in Maui on a Sheraton Hotel construction site. Hawai'i is gorgeous but I'll never go back. It's just too damned far to fly from here in the east. Most of the rest of my business travel consisted of standing around customer's shops sucking down smelly vapors in nasty-assed little towns.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on January 17, 2005 10:55 PM

The first time I went to Europe was on Lufthansa. It was long enough ago that the airplane wasn't full, and I got to chatting with one of the stewardesses ("cabin attendants"). She said, "I know what efery major city in the vorld looks like." I looked up at that; she smiled and added, "Ja, it's a long strip of concrete vith a vite line down the middle."

And that's about the size of it. Oh, once in a while there's time off to do Tenochtitlan, and my travels tend to be for extended periods with occasional weekends off. But the Holiday Inn in Bogota, Colombia is just as boring as the one in Bogota, Texas, and the Feds have made sure any pleasures are paid for -- twice, if possible.

Ric Locke

Posted by: Ric Locke on January 17, 2005 11:33 PM

I will give you a huge AMEN on that one!!

I had a job where we consulted all over the country. I would be in 3 cities a week with a team. We had breakfast together, lunch together, dinner together, one car for the bunch of us to travel in. Some weekends we had to go back to the home office for weekend meetings where we discussed what we learned and "shared" experiences and solutions. At these weekends we had breakfast together, lunch together, dinner together and then the company would have "entertainment" for the whole bunch of us. When you figure that the ages ranged from 22 to 55 with single and married and gay together, I hated it with a passion. At the end of 6 months we agreed that it was a non-starter and I did something else. Would not go back for a million dollars.

One of the salesmen I dealt with in another life had a job where he got home for 2 days every 3 weeks but he was only 28. It was grueling for him but doable. How anyone can live like this at the age of 50 or 55 is beyond me. What do you ever do for a life?????

Posted by: dick on January 17, 2005 11:44 PM

How true, how true! I fly to Japan on businesss a lot, and it sucks! The only time I even halfway enjoyed it was last year when I took my man with me; at least I had some diversion! *S*

Posted by: Michele on January 18, 2005 04:58 AM

On one job, I had opportunities to be assigned to teams "honored" to go do business in Hawaii. I didn't take them for the very reason Queenie talks about.

If I was just going to do in Hawaii what I was already doing in the home territory anyway, why not stay in the home territory and be able to sleep in my own bed at night?

Hawaii never was my dream destination, but if I ever do go there, it won't be to spend all day working under flourescent lighting.

Posted by: McGehee on January 18, 2005 01:57 PM
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