Traveling for work is an unusual challenge. Much of my business is done on the west coast, which means that while most of my co-workers have 2-3 hour flights to meetings, I have a whole day of travel.
Last week I was in Redmond, at HQ. The facility is amazing, the people were incredible, and the trip was well worth it. The best word I can use to describe it would be “intense.”
There was a moment, while I was at SEA-TAC airport for my trip home, waiting for a taxi to deliver my passport (which I had carefully hidden in my hotel room, then forgot to bring with me, but didn’t realise until after I’d returned my rental car) so I could get through customs, equipped with only a smart phone and a pad of paper, talking to partners while wheeling my luggage through the terminal, with a maxed-out personal credit card and an empty bank account from traveling across the continent, temporarily at my own expense, after 3 weeks of not being paid, when I told God that maybe this was too much for me to handle on my own. But then He reminded me that I’m never on my own, and by the way: ISN’T THIS A BLAST?!
And it is! This company is huge, their pockets are deep, their products are generally world-class, and my partners are some of the coolest companies in their space. Now that my first pay check has hit the bank account and my corporate credit card has arrived, this is officially the best job ever.
Of course, there’s some down-sides. Nicole and the kids picked me up at the airport when I returned home, and Ben practically jumped out of the stroller to see me. The conversation went like this…
Ben: DADDY! Daddy, WHERE DID YOU GO?!
Me: I was on an airplane, buddy
Ben: W-W-Why did you do THAT?!
Me: I had to go to work
It’s great to come home and see them. Its even better when I don’t have to leave them at all. Obviously its an additional challenge for Nicole too, having two toddlers by herself. Fortunately, when I’m home, I’m really home. My work day has even more flexibility than my last job. Because my co-workers are in a different time zone, its actually helpful to carve out a chunk of work time and move it until after the kids are in bed. And because I’m a mobile worker, when they’re napping, I can go work at Starbucks and not miss a beat.
Old job (3 computers) vs. New Job (3 phones)
I joked with Nicole that my old job gave me 3 computers, my new one has given me 3 phones. And that fairly accurately illustrates the role-change: before it was about code, now its about relationships.
I just gotta figure out how to balance those work relationships with the ones important to me at home…