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Business Travel - before vs after having children

Business Travel - before vs after having children

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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:26 pm
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Business Travel - before vs after having children

Wife and I are expecting our first child later this year. We're beyond thrilled by the knowledge that we'll soon be parents, but also a bit anxious about the unknown.

In addition to this, I was recently offered a job opportunity with significant growth potential. However, this job would require more than 50% travel and they have explained up front that some of the travel will span across weekends (i.e. 2 weeks concurrent). For reference, I travel less than 30% for my current job, normally 2 - 3 day trips at a time (wife has been OK with this so far).

My wife has been incredibly supportive and thinks she would be OK with the added travel. My gut tells me otherwise, especially when the baby arrives. Also, I don't know how I'm going to feel being on the road with a newborn at home.

Curious to hear thoughts / advice from those with experience in this realm. Did your perspective on business travel change after you had kid(s)? Are there any set rules you try to follow (i.e. be home for weekends) to help lessen the impact of being away from home?
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:34 pm
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Some close friends were in a similar position a few years ago, with initially one and then two little ones. The husband would leave home late Sunday for a redeye from the West Coast of the USA to the East Coast, and would get home around midnight on the Friday. So, few full weekends away, but only one week in 10 at home, so perhaps more weekdays away. They managed for the first few years (not sure how, but they were always cheery about it), with the wife going to part time and relying on a close network of her adult friends, along with fellow new mothers. But once the older one was about two or three, the husband found that he couldn't face the time away, both missing the company of the toddler, and concerned that he was not really part of her life. So, he changed jobs, with less, but more distant, travel.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 1:13 pm
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Congratulations on your impending parenthood. I would urge you to spend as much time with your family as you can. Jobs come and go, your kid(s) are forever, and what are you going to regret more - missing promotion to VP or missing your kids' lives?

Your username and profile suggest you graduated from college in 2008 and you live in Virginia. Based on your relative youth, and your location (unless by Virginia you mean DC area) I suspect you're overestimating or have been mislead by the actual "growth potential." Careers in the business world that have legitimate growth potential are basically exclusive to large wealthy metros (SF, NYC, DC) and even then it is very easy to delude young people that they are successful.

Rereading what I just wrote, it sounds extremely belittling and I am sorry but my point is simple: your family is your priority. There are a lot of liars in business, don't fall for them.

Be aware you're asking your question on FlyerTalk so the consensus below mine is guaranteed to be "it's perfectly fine!" and probably some jabs that I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 5:32 pm
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Gut feel says this is too much time away from your family for you and your loved ones to be happy. Best of luck
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Old Feb 11, 19, 8:04 pm
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I feel you should follow your gut BUT if you are considering, as a family, this opportunity I have a few questions.
1-What field are you in? Some are more stable for "significant growth potential". If "sales" is part of the job description stop reading now and stay close to home.
2-When does the new job start in relation to the pregnancy?
3-What support will your wife have while you are away? Family, friends or both?
4-And most importantly, when you're home will you REALLY be home?

Congratulations on your impending little one!
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Old Feb 11, 19, 8:19 pm
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For context, I'm 40 and have two kids under age 3. I'm writing this from a crappy Hampton Inn in Peoria.

Before my kids were born I traveled four to six times a month (mostly within North America) for work. I loved it...most of the time. Once my first daughter reached about six months and was really interacting with me, I realized that I didn't like leaving her that frequently. That made me make some changes to my work and now I travel only twice a month.

If you do take the job, get a nanny if you can. Even if you can only afford help once or twice a week, you will reap huge dividends from it. Family and friends are great to have around, but it's not the same as having someone whose livelihood depends on showing up to help take care of the kids.

Should you take the job? Only you and your wife can answer that. My gut says, unless it's a life-changing amount of money, this is not the time to do it.
​​​
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:46 pm
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Originally Posted by MEABFlyer View Post
Should you take the job? Only you and your wife can answer that. My gut says, unless it's a life-changing amount of money, this is not the time to do it.
​​​
+1
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Old Feb 12, 19, 5:13 am
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Congratulations on your impending parenthood. I would urge you to spend as much time with your family as you can. Jobs come and go, your kid(s) are forever, and what are you going to regret more - missing promotion to VP or missing your kids' lives?

Your username and profile suggest you graduated from college in 2008 and you live in Virginia. Based on your relative youth, and your location (unless by Virginia you mean DC area) I suspect you're overestimating or have been mislead by the actual "growth potential." Careers in the business world that have legitimate growth potential are basically exclusive to large wealthy metros (SF, NYC, DC) and even then it is very easy to delude young people that they are successful.

Rereading what I just wrote, it sounds extremely belittling and I am sorry but my point is simple: your family is your priority. There are a lot of liars in business, don't fall for them.

Be aware you're asking your question on FlyerTalk so the consensus below mine is guaranteed to be "it's perfectly fine!" and probably some jabs that I don't know what I'm talking about.
Sage advice from someone with documented workplace issues and anxiety about traveling to new york.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 7:39 am
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As a dad of one, this is my perspective;

1. Business travel isn't as glamorous as people make out, especially when you're doing it week in week out.
2. Your wife is being nice by saying she'll manage, she will struggle particularly during the night when all the baby wants to do is eat and play. Do you want to leave your wife struggling with a new born?
3. Do YOU want to be away from your baby? I got to see my daughter grow up and am thrilled I didn't get to miss much. If you want a relationship with your kid, you need to be there.

My 2c.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 7:49 am
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Originally Posted by hipquest View Post
I feel you should follow your gut BUT if you are considering, as a family, this opportunity I have a few questions.
1-What field are you in? Some are more stable for "significant growth potential". If "sales" is part of the job description stop reading now and stay close to home.
2-When does the new job start in relation to the pregnancy?
3-What support will your wife have while you are away? Family, friends or both?
4-And most importantly, when you're home will you REALLY be home?

Congratulations on your impending little one!
1- I'm in manufacturing / operations. A bit more clarity on the growth potential: new role would include multi-site responsibility, hence the added travel requirements.
2- New job would start approximately 4 months from due date of baby.
3- My fault, I should've given more information on this. New job will require relocation to an area ~6 hours away from where we currently live. This will bring us closer to family (who will be about 1 hour away) but not so much on the friends side of things. This is also a major concern of mine as I feel like it may be too much change too quickly (i.e. new job, new home, new baby + more travel).
4- Responsibilities will definitely require me to stay connected to the sites I'm managing.

And thanks!

Originally Posted by MEABFlyer View Post
Should you take the job? Only you and your wife can answer that. My gut says, unless it's a life-changing amount of money, this is not the time to do it.
​​​
Definitely not life-changing amount of money. I think I agree with your gut.

Appreciate all for the feedback and shared experiences.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:44 am
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Timing is everything, and this doesn't seem like a good time.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:48 am
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Keep in mind that it is when you are as far away from home as possible in Tokyo or Singapore or London that the rattlesnake will get into the garage, the water heater will go on the fritz, the baby will have an upset stomach, and the neighbor's tree will fall over into your yard.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:56 am
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I'd ask a couple of follow up questions. When you are required to be away over the weekends, do you get time in lieu? A friend of mine works away over two weekends several times a year, but gets those 4 days back as lieu days. With a young baby, and assuming your wife is not working, the distinction between week days and weekends isn't as important as once they are at school.

As the job grows, what ability do you have to manage your schedule and how much is dependent on others? In one instance at the company where I worked, the person in the role was travelling almost non-stop (he was single, quite enjoyed the travel). When he left and a single mother of two took the role, the amount of travel cut back quite dramatically, but she still got the job done. She started doing video conference calls with her remote reports once a week, she planned her travel to leave Monday morning, and get back Thursday evening, meaning she was not only fully there for her kids on the weekends, she would work from home on Fridays so the weekend could start when school let out. For her long haul multi city trips, she would try and time it so again she left late Sunday (after kids had gone to bed) or Monday morning, and would take lieu days for the weekends when she got back, often tying it in to school vacations. The company was also happy for her to work extended hours when away (eg 12 hour days) and be more relaxed about when she was in town. Would your company have a similar view? I can see a trade off between travel one week, but being home by 3pm the following week, for example.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 10:06 am
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Does wife work? Does she have career ambitions? I suspect the answers are no, but I want to ask.

I think the OP should think in terms of how the decision could cause regret or resentment later, by either him or the wife. It sounds to me like the new job offer is a major promotion (and maybe a move toward headquarters) at the existing employer. Saying no at this time could cause him to be viewed as someone who isn't committed to the job/employer/career and sidetrack him more permanently. It doesn't sound like similar opportunities come along frequently. Moreover, in the manufacturing/operations area, it's important to keep improving/updating skills/responsibilities, with long term promotion/career potential tied to successfully broadening one's roles. So even if there isn't a big raise associated with this promotion, it sounds like an excellent investment to me, assuming that the new salary will comfortably cover living costs (including some child care even if wife doesn't work outside of the home) and the company will fully cover moving expenses and help to make the move easier (for example, by offering to buy the new house if applicable or by generously covering house hunting trips and temporary living expenses.

For the travel that spans weekends, would there be an option to come home at your expense in the middle or would you get compensatory time off? More generally, what are the relevant travel policies in terms of scheduling, cheapest only or freedom to pick convenient flights or take advantage of FF benefits? Does the company pay for you to stay in decent hotels and are there such decent hotels where you will travel? Assuming you're flying, what are the logistics for gettting to/from airport (from home or office) at the new location and will the company pay for prime airport parking or car service for your convenience? IMO the same amount of travel is far worse when you're staying at Motel6, eating nothing but fast food, flying budget carriers, and forced to use inconvenient public transportation to/from the airport or to park in distant remote lots with minimal shuttle service to/from the terminal.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 10:12 am
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Spend more time with your kids

Originally Posted by PSU08 View Post
Wife and I are expecting our first child later this year. We're beyond thrilled by the knowledge that we'll soon be parents, but also a bit anxious about the unknown.

In addition to this, I was recently offered a job opportunity with significant growth potential. However, this job would require more than 50% travel and they have explained up front that some of the travel will span across weekends (i.e. 2 weeks concurrent). For reference, I travel less than 30% for my current job, normally 2 - 3 day trips at a time (wife has been OK with this so far).

My wife has been incredibly supportive and thinks she would be OK with the added travel. My gut tells me otherwise, especially when the baby arrives. Also, I don't know how I'm going to feel being on the road with a newborn at home.

Curious to hear thoughts / advice from those with experience in this realm. Did your perspective on business travel change after you had kid(s)? Are there any set rules you try to follow (i.e. be home for weekends) to help lessen the impact of being away from home?
Re-evaluate your priorities. I urge you to spend every last minute with your children. They will be grown and gone before you know it. There is no job that is worth sacrificing so much of your family time. If you are spending 50% of your time away from the kids, then you have effectively abandoned them. Cute commercials notwithstanding, skyping with your kids from overseas is not "being there." Rest assured that every milestone moment in your child's life will occur when you are away. I travel 2-3 times per month on business, only domestic. Before kids, a one-day business trip to a nice place would often turn into a three-day weekend for me and the wife. After kids, most of those turned into daytrips, taking the 6AM outbound and the 8PM return. Those quick turnarounds stink, but those are the sacrifices a parent makes for his/her kidlets. Fortunately, by the time my girls were about 4, I started taking them on business trips with me, sometimes just one girl, and sometimes the whole family. Those daytrips once again became long weekends, and quality time with my kids. Nobody with grown children ever laments having spent too much time with their kids, when they could have been spending more time in distant hotels. Just to earn a few more bucks? There are plenty of jobs that do not require constant travel.

In the FT fashion, be sure to sign your kids up for frequent flier accounts asap. Both of my girls have been earning miles since they were about 3 months old, and I have never redeemed their miles. Now they are 17-19, and they both have a nice stockpile of miles to fund their own travels over spring break, summer internships, etc. The oldest one also got a Delta Amex card on her 18th birthday, which came with a 60,000 mile bonus. The other will be applying for her first credit card in a few months.
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