This post clearly has the opportunity to be a whoa is me post, but I’ll try and not make it one of those.
So I’m officially immersed in the my spring speaking tour, 3 speaking gigs this week and at least another 12,000 air miles and additional 3 pitches before June 10 and various and sundry trips in between. I just received an email from a colleague informing me to have fun in Boston and I thought about it and I think folks who don’t travel much don’t necessarilly understand that travel isn’t fun.
The Essence of Business Travel
No matter what the location – Pheonix, Maui or Amsterdam it is still work! Typically you travel somewhere because you have stuff to do and places to be. You may be staying at the Pheonician, a four seasons or resort in some place like Banff Springs – you rarely get to enjoy the ammendities. OK sometimes you DO get to golf…
Ultimately I try my best to weave in friends and family in as possible, but it is normally a 1 out 10 type of thing since the paid gig comes first – priorities. You have to make sure your up for a keynote, customer meeting or prospect meeting at 9, so you can’t do bars with your fraternity brother until 3 AM. So while I appreciate Ed’s well wishing and fun recommendation, it is gonna be difficult.
But wait, I should have a good meal at least right?
Good Food Must Mean Good Times, Right?
A man’s got to eat and not every meal on the road is good, there is a whole lot of airport McDonald’s, more than I like. That being said, admittedly I have had some GREAT meals on the road, both on and off the expense account, but that doesn’t mean that it was fun. The general rule is that the better the meal, the more likely it is NOT on an expense account, since I’m a foodie I try and get the best local food possible. I acutally spend a good deal of time investigating place to eat, since this is typically the only thing which you can ultimately count on when on the road, since a man’s got to eat.
At the end of the day, no matter what the restaurant is – it is business if you aren’t able to eat alone. You’ll typically have customers, partners or staff members and you still have to talk supply chain or technology all night long, remain sober and not unveil your real interests. I gotta be work Jon who likes wine, boring stories and is just facinated by your latest project which has no relationship to the deal I’m trying to position or close.
Not that I’ve done the math, but I think there is actually an inverse relationship between food quality and fun on the road. The better the restaurant the more mundane the discussion – karma punishment. Too often you are forced to fain interest in stories about a kid’s tee ball league, football or the latest cool thing they did with a Seibel integration.
So while you may get good food, you’re ultimately stymied by the atmosphere. How many people who you work with or who you are selling to are people you would actually hang out with?
In closing, I do have to say the event I’m at and speaking to are some of the most interesting folks I know. The people that participate at NEECOM are as innovative as anyone in the industry and significantly improve my understanding of the stuff I do every time I attend. I am ultiamtely blessed by the opportunities I have and the people I meet, so Ed – I guess I will have fun in Boston since I will learn from the folks I see.
Please Note: Feel free to forward this to your spouse if you have the same type of discussions I have when I say good night as I leave Morton’s. If you have these discussion you know what I mean and you need to forward this as independent validation of life on the road.