Being an Energy consultant that travels consistently can be tough. I’ve been doing it off and on since 1997 when I spent a year commuting from Houston to Mexico City. I’ve got many stories and many lessons that I’ve learned to adhere to that I’d like to share with you. The first I’ve found to be most important during my travels is making sure you keep your lifelines back to your home.
Keeping Ties To Home While Away
I find pre-determining a time every day to talk to your family works great. For me, that time is first thing in the morning before my children go to school. They are a captive, although sleepy audience. The point is just to let them know you are thinking about them and are interested in what they are doing.
Of course many road warriors may not yet have kids or are empty nesters. Still, having that schedule with your spouse/significant other is important.
Stay On A Schedule
I also find keeping to a specific schedule when I’m on the road keeps me grounded. (some of my friends even make light about my strict adherence to that schedule…) I get up, go get some exercise, get breakfast on my way in (right now I’m really in to protein shakes) and work, work work. I also enjoy getting out with my colleagues and clients in the evening.
I have to get in bed early or I’ll turn into a pumpkin! Right now I’m out in Pennsylvania so the mornings are at least cool. That’s a blessing when you are from Houston.
Patience, Patience, Patience
I have found that patience is key while you travel. Keeping a cool head when dealing with the ridiculousness that is the TSA and the airlines is a must. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. A friend of mine once said, "getting in your own bed at 1am is still better than not getting in it at all."
I’m sure everyone has their own story, but this happened to me two weeks ago. First let me say that I have to drive about 80 miles to EWR (Newark). If everything goes perfect I can leave the office, drive in, get gas, drop off the rental, get into the terminal and through security in about 2hrs and 15 mins.
Well, last week I got stuck on the highway because of an accident and went 6 miles in 90 mins! Oh yeah, that was fun. At some point during that time, I determined I’m probably not going to make it. So, I call the airline and get moved back to the later flight. Ok. Plan B is in place.
Always Have a Plan B
Always good to lock in plan B. Did I mention I’ve worked in risk management for years? Anyway, to continue my story, I end up getting to the gate of the original flight just when they were about to board. No airline personnel in sight at the gate. They were all down ready to take tickets. So another call to the airline desk. I requisitioned a seat back but they could not check me in. I was told I’d have to find a gate agent. Since none were there, I just went right to the front of the line to the ticket podium and told them they would have to do it. Great! Middle seat, but who cares I thought. As that later flight was going to be 2 hours late! (poor suckers I thought…)
I go to sit down in that prime middle and realize that someone smells really bad! “Be cool,” I think. “At least I’m on.” I settle in and get my headphones on. Along comes the flight attendant who hands me a ticket. I’m a bit confused I thought it was just a receipt. Then the person next to me says “Hey, they have upgraded you to first class!”. The benefits of staying patient and having a plan B!
Flash forward to last night. I get to airport in plenty of time. All is well. Then I’m notified the plane is going to be late. OK, no problem. I’ll get to bed by 1am!
Drew Epps is a Senior Consulting Manager with over 30 years of experience in the Energy industry. MidDel Consulting is a System Integrator and Professional Services firm specilaizing in services supporting the business systems for Front, Back and Mid Office. MidDel has been in business for 14 years and our consultants, on average, bring over 20 years of senior level energy industry knowledge to our projects. We have deep relationships with our clients, often working with them for more than a decade.
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