There’s a lot of “how to” guides and simple tips out there for working women yet I thought it was time to write a “how not to” guide.
In this, my first and maybe only, “how not to” guide I tackle the issue of working away from home. You see since I’ve started working full time again I’ve found myself traveling a lot. So far, I’ve been pretty great at it, but this time (and I say this time because I am writing this from a Brisbane hotel room) I have not navigated it successfully. Here’s what I’ve learned.
How not to conduct a business trip.
1) Make your children cry.
Up until this trip my kids have been pretty cool with me heading off, but this time my middle child was devastated. She sobbed in my arms for about an hour. Her arms tightly wound around me, big fat tears streamed off her nose and chin. Twiggy slept on the couch so she could snuggle in with me before my early morning departure. I’m hoping this was a one-off, because man it was hard walking out the door that morning.
2) Have a foggy delay.
Because thick fog blanketed the city of Brisbane, the plane circled for over an hour until it lifted and we could land. While I took the opportunity to watch a movie, the man next to me thought it would be best to down scotch…at 8.30am.
3) Get lost in a new city.
Until this job I had never used a GPS or been the driver of a hire care, Twiggy’s always done that. It’s getting simpler each time, but because I am always in an unfamiliar city I get nervous navigating unknown destinations. I spend a lot of time shouting at the GPS woman and doing u-turns.
4) Get stuck in a car park.
When your credit cards get rejected and the hundred dollar note you have also gets rejected, you do spend a moment wondering how you’ll survive living in a car park for four days. Luckily, the “Parking Gods” looked down on me and finally accepted one of my credit cards after multiple attempts.
5) Pay way too much for parking.
Who knew that Brisbane was so crap for parking? Paying $25 bucks for less than half hour, wow.
6) Fight with technology.
The first part of my trip was peppered with internet problems and no phone range. This makes doing media a little tricky. Nothing I couldn’t overcome in the end.
7) Eat the wrong things.
Half a block of camembert in a roll is ok for dinner, right?
8) Trash your hotel room.
The first thing I did when I got to my second hotel room was open the door to get some fresh air into the tired space. When I went to pull the curtain back the entire thing ripped off the wall. Whoops.
9) Miss your kid’s bake sale.
After I went to my girls’ school and talked my eldest girl’s class about what I do, they decided to raise money for Nepal. Last week they ate rice for lunch and donated their lunch money and yesterday they had a bake sale (and lemonade stand and gave neck massages and did crazy hairstyles). Twiggy baked choc chip cookies and went along to help. I so wanted to be there, but was given an up-to-date pictorial run down. They did so well, I am a very proud mum.
10) Cry in the car.
When you’re staying in a hotel with work colleagues it can be tricky to be incognito which is why I chose to cry in the car, in the dark hotel car park. The two old dudes that pulled in next to me thought I was a little loony. I did too.
11) Cry at a restaurant.
Dining alone when you’d rather be dining with company is not that fun. Dining alone with tears in your eyes is even worse. And a little weirdo. Let’s say I ate fast and got out of there.
12) Cry while writing a press release.
As my roommate had an overnight shift I wanted to give her space to get a sleep before she headed to work, so I took my laptop and set up my virtual office at an outdoor table at the hotel. It was a little chilly, but I liked the quiet. When I stupidly clicked on a photo of my kids, I found myself once again getting teary. Silly me. Whatever you do when you’re missing people – DO NOT look at photos of them.
13) Attempt clothes shopping to fill the void.
And another warning, do not and I repeat, do not do a spot of clothes shopping to try and make you feel better. It will not. And seriously what is this new trend of shirts with splits down the back so your arse is on display. No-one needs my arse on display!
14) Write a blog post about it.
If my boss is reading this, it’s all cool . I am fine. I am a pro at separating work and my personal life. I’m just a big wuss.
Anyway, today is a new day. The sun is shining. It’s warm. I feel a whole lot better and I have one more sleep until I head home. My kids are having a great time with their dad and am aware that I have presents for them on my return. My eldest girl and her class raised over $800 for Oxfam Australia at her school bake sale and she, as the organiser, grew stronger. I am so very proud of her and her entire class. Champs, all of them.
And that brings to me why I am here. There are people in this world who have nothing. I have everything. A couple of days away from my family, working for an organisation that helps mothers who do everything they can to put food into their kids’ mouths and a roof of some sort over their head is important. In some small way I am contributing to that. So, I say to myself toughen up princess.
Sometimes you just have a crappy run. I am going to nail the next two days so when I walk in the door tomorrow night I can feel like it was all worth it and I did my best.
Do you travel for work? Got any tips?