Back in 2004, I used to have a real job.
I lived in Michigan and worked for Pfizer. My territory was global. My job started off as a normal HR job until I had to lay people off. A lot of them. I traveled to fun places like New York City, London, France and Puerto Rico. And some times I really lucked out and traveled to Nebraska, Indiana and Connecticut.
I loved to travel, but nobody told me how boring it is to travel midweek to a small town by myself. I would spend my days in meetings, and my dinner options were limited since nobody wanted to entertain the HR chick who was about to fire people. My dinner choices were Chipotle (if I was lucky), a pizza-and-wings joint, or maybe a dark Indian restaurant with red walls and a sketchy BYOB policy.
(I always went with the Indian place.)
I used to be sober, too.
I rarely drank when I was working. It seemed weird and sad to drink alone. My habits were simpler. I would go to dinner and always order dessert. Then I would go back to my room, change into a pair of pajamas, and watch The Bachelor and America’s Next Top Model.
Sometimes I killed time by writing on my semi-anonymous blog.
Travel isn’t much different for me in 2015 except that I have a very public blog and I drink a little more. I don’t watch The Bachelor, but I do watch a lot of online videos.
Travel can be so unproductive.
Because traveling alone can be so demoralizing for me, I have new rules in 2015. I am not speaking at any SHRM events. (You just can’t pay me enough for the hassle and the disruption to my schedule.) No overnight stays if I can get somewhere and back in 12 hours. And I’m not traveling on Sunday nights. It’s an important day for my family. I don’t know about you, but we get organized for the week on Sundays.
Everybody needs balance and boundaries.
While I may have to get up early and stay up late to meet some of my new business travel guidelines, it’s worth it. The payoff is that I’ll spend more time at home with my family.
Hopefully, these new rules will keep me feeling a little more grounded in 2015. At the very least, I won’t be avoiding the bar — and the SHRM conference scene — by watching The Bachelor at some dumpy hotel in the middle of nowhere.
I just don’t have that kind of time in my life, anymore.