Two years out of school, I still feel like I’m learning the ropes of what it means to have a “big kid” job. This summer’s lesson has really been about the fun (and not-so-fun) parts of a job with lots of travel.
In my office, I’m one of the people who doesn’t have any clients based in Minnesota. That means, in addition to lots of phone calls and emails, I get to travel quite a bit. Since the middle of June alone, I’ve been to Denver, Steamboat Springs, Kansas City (three times) and St. Joseph, all for work trips. A traveling job isn’t for everyone, so here are my thoughts:
The Good Stuff
- Getting to see people – Who exactly you get to see can be different based on your job, but if you have a traveling job, it’s likely that you’re seeing people you usually don’t get to on a daily basis. Beyond my clients, my work trips give me the chance to meet with sales reps and customers. A lot of times these people can give you insight on what’s really going on “in the field”, which can help you do even better work.
- Visiting new places – Since I started my job, I’ve been to Scottsdale, AZ, Jackson Hole, WY, a whole host of places in California and Steamboat Springs, CO – all places I’d never been before. It’s true that, a lot of times when you’re traveling, you don’t get to see the sights because you’re so busy with work. I’ve been lucky enough, though, to have some pretty neat outings scheduled right into the meetings at these places, which means that adventuring is part of my time there!
- A break from the cubicle – If you have an office job like me, you know how nice it is to get a break from the ordinary. Even though you’re still working, a change of scenery can be great for your attitude and can help you come back to the office with a refreshed view on things.
- Bonding with co-workers – Getting away from the typical office setting can be a really good thing for relationships with your co-workers. When you travel, there could be time at the airport, road-tripping or dinners where you can just talk about non-work stuff (or even work stuff, but in a much more casual setting). Some of the best “get-to-know-you” time I’ve had with my work team has been while we’re out on the road.
- The food! – I’m not going to lie. We get to eat at some pretty kick butt places while we’re traveling and this food lover can’t complain.
The Not-So-Good Stuff
- Too many nights away from home – When you first start out traveling, it can seem pretty glamorous with all those nights in hotels and fancy restaurants. After awhile, though (especially when all the travel falls back-to-back), you start to just want to be home in your own bed, hanging out with your family. Luckily, it’s just me and my fiance at home and he’s pretty understanding of my hectic travel schedule. For people who have more travel than I do, though, and who have kids, I can imagine this would be even more difficult.
- Still have to get your work done – Just because you’re coordinating a customer meeting or spending your day manning a trade show booth or getting some professional development training doesn’t mean that your work back in the office stops. The calls from clients and co-workers still roll in, which can mean some late nights trying to keep up on your regular work in addition to the work you’re doing related to the trip.
Overall, I would rank traveling for work as one of my favorite parts of the job. The few downsides are challenging, but they definitely don’t outweigh the major positives that come with getting out of your typical routine for some atypical (and maybe even new) experiences.
What about you? I’d love to hear from some other work travelers. Did I leave anything off the list? Considering a job with travel and have questions? Let’s hear ’em!