Work travel and work life balance
Now there’s a conundrum. How does one make the two work together. I am writing this from a hotel room, after a day of interviewing and attending one of the most inspiring meetings I have been to in years. I thought I must have been out of words… obviously not.
How does one travel for work and still maintain the family life? Is it really possible to juggle? I tried.. but not sure if I succeeded.. I stepped out of that awesome meeting as it was time at home to sing bedtime songs, a wonderful tradition we do every night (I really hope the door shut behind me, well there was no laughing or pointing when I returned so it must have been OK.)
By doing that though, was I doing either one full justice? I felt guilty for only being on the phone with my kids, and I felt guilty for stepping away from the meeting. (I got over the meeting guilt quite quickly I must admit)
With technology now, if you’re smart you can find ways of avoiding travel, skype has been my best friend, I’ve done countless meeting and interviews throughout the world with this, saving thousands and getting decent results, however nothing really replaces face to face contact, meeting the people across the table, shaking their hand and looking them in the eye whilst you talk with them. Applies to everything, clients, candidates and colleagues, relationships are built face to face, even with social networking, it cannot oust the human touch. Being told how good a place or vibe is, is not replacement for experiencing it. However, the plan must be sound, I get to see my wife and kids almost every night, and the results of recruits is magnificent, if yesterday’s meeting is anything to go by.
I have friends who travel heaps for their job… it’s tough, they miss heaps… I wonder a lot how they do it, or is it a case of that to be successful there have to be sacrifices? It is not a glamorous thing as it sounds to people how don’t do it.
It is ironic I think, or a cruel twist of fate, that around the 30ish age mark you really start to make a mark in your career, or have to to lay the foundations for your future, but it is also the time that people start to have families. Well you want to progress and excel in your career to set up your families future, but you also want to be there to experience all the family stuff, and they need you too. I have seen people who are strangers to their kids due to their work commitments, very sad. It is tough for parents with duelling responsibilities and those that support them at home.
If you are part of a National company or a global organisation, is it possible to be successful, or be in a senior role and not travel? Is it naive to expect to have that balance, or greedy to demand it? And if you are you able to keep that balance? I think as budgets get cut at the moment, and a lot of business travel has been reduced it is a thought that can and should be be discussed in preparation for the next wave really starts. I welcome comments on this please.