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How do you overcome that feeling, when you just don't want to travel for work?

How do you overcome that feeling, when you just don't want to travel for work?

Old Aug 21, 06, 5:02 pm
  #1  
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How do you overcome that feeling, when you just don't want to travel for work?

Here is a question for all of you that just hit me big-time this morning.....

I've been on the road nonstop, every week except for about 5-6 weeks out of the last year. Longest stretch not traveling was for 3 weeks.

Anyways, this morning I got up at 4:30am like I usually do on Monday mornings lately, and as I took a shower and got ready, I was overcome with this feeling about not wanting to go. Every now and then I've felt like this before, but never as strong as this morning. I had a great weekend spending a lot of time outside and relaxing, but I just couldn't bear to get on a plane to spend another week on the road in a very less-than desirable location. Not just the travel, but the fact I end up working about 18 hours/day when I'm on the road due to job commitments, so the travel isn't even any fun now.

So what could I do? Its not like I had the option to call in sick or just not go on the trip. I'd probably be fired. I know I had no option, but it really is getting to me that I have no say about the travel and it is negatively impacting my life, since it now controls my life.

My question is, what do you other road warriors do to overcome this? I really feel like I'm in some funk right now and I don't know how to get out of it.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 5:06 pm
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I got sent to Cleveland for a week to babysit a customer we screwed, er, shipped software to. Then got sent back two weeks later, rinse, repeat.

Fast forward 2 months and my boss tells me that I have to stay another week because the other guy on rotation is married and has a family. I hung up the phone, checked out of my hotel, and went to the airport. If there hadn't been a storm I would have been home and fired on Monday.

I have a family now and have to travel to make the buckaroos, so I'd probably be very different.

I guess I try to keep myself in good shape on the road - exercise, skipping drinking as much as possible, staying away from the fast food, taking naps on the weekend, etc, etc.

Good luck to you.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 5:19 pm
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You could:

a) talk to someone who has been laid off for quite some time;
b) start looking for a new job - dedicate all your off work time to the job search - no more watching silly network sitcoms, dramas, or reality shows;
c) fake a compound leg fracture. :-)
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Old Aug 21, 06, 5:29 pm
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Figure out if this is a temporary thing.. My advice? Take a vacation.. 2 weeks.. don't get on a plane or a train or book travel or anything. stay at home, catch up on sleep and take nice long bike rides during the evening. clean the basement.. fix the gutters.. do anything but think about work.. If after 2 weeks you still don't want to go.. Don't.. find a new job where you don't travel. I would imagine that getting thrown to the wolves every week have given you more and sharper skills than the average cube dweller. In my case it cured me.. I was ready to get back on the road though I realze now I do need more "me" time and intend to take it.

I went through this myself very recently, and my boss and ceo both *mandated* time off.. I'm lucky.. My company is just like that... They saw me burning out and did what they needed to do to keep me as a healthy and happy employee for a long time to come. This is different than how it was at my old company.. 2 weeks of vacation a year, not that I could take the time off without a 45 day advance notice.

If your company can't give you the time off, find one that will.

Career road warriors are hard to find.. Some places realize that and will do what it takes to keep you around.

good luck and i hope you recover your love of travel.

_m
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Old Aug 21, 06, 5:41 pm
  #5  
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How about talk to your manager and express your concerns. I'm sure its not unusual. It might not help, but it can't hurt. If you express that travelling this much doesn't seem worth it anymore, you might get a raise or they might change your schedule a bit.

For the other person who was told he had to travel more because the other person was married, then you should have gone to your HR department. Giving assignments based on marital status is a no no.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 9:05 pm
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I just think of the mileage I will earn, the points on hotels and car rentals. Ultimately, it means that, apart from food, vacations are free. Not bad!
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Old Aug 21, 06, 10:05 pm
  #7  
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I remember how much they pay me to do this <g>.

14 years of 4-5 days/week, and 5am Mondays for the last 2 years. Yes, Mondays are bad. Especially when I work until 10:30pm, like today. But it will be better tomorrow.

If not, seek a non-travel job. I hear they do exist <g>.
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Old Aug 21, 06, 10:09 pm
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Originally Posted by DTWflyer
Here is a question for all of you that just hit me big-time this morning.....what do you other road warriors do to overcome this? I really feel like I'm in some funk right now and I don't know how to get out of it.
I was exactly where you are 10 years ago. I traveled about 120K BIS miles (all domestic) each year and hit "the wall'. What did I do? I gave my notice. My field of work required it, so it was non-negotiable with my employer (who I loved working for, BTW). Do I regret it? Not at all. In fact, I took a job that required almost no business travel for the next 7 years and loved it more. While I surprisingly did miss the chaos (and F travel) for a while, I found myself more happy to be home than I ever believed I could. Over the last three years, I started traveling about 50K miles a year. To me, that is around the perfect amount. So, my answer to your question is that I think you have to figure out where your "line in the sand" is and stick to it. A sort of mental health line, if you will. If your current employer/occupation simply can't promise it in the foreseeable future, I think you have to make a decision. As I found out, my decision was easier than I thought it would be. You just have to really be honest with yourself and know what you want (or don't want). Then act on it.
Good luck to you.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 3:11 am
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Originally Posted by TierFlyer
Fast forward 2 months and my boss tells me that I have to stay another week because the other guy on rotation is married and has a family. I hung up the phone, checked out of my hotel, and went to the airport. If there hadn't been a storm I would have been home and fired on Monday.
I know there have been lots of articles on the single versus married topic, but it still bothers me. What, are single people of less value than married people, so we can crap all over them and give them the assignments the married people don't want?
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Old Aug 22, 06, 3:34 am
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There was one time early on in my career when I had been gone from home continuously for 3 weeks on back-to-back assignments flying direct from one city to the next. I got a voicemail from one of the project managers saying they wanted me to go to some other city the next week, and this was right around the 4th of July holiday. (Meaning that to reasonably get to the assignment, I'd miss the holiday). This was the last straw.

I voicemailed him right back and cc'd my boss, with a "suggestion" that they try to find someone else to do it since I'd been on the road for so long. Result--I wasn't fired, and they found someone else to do it. It also seemed that mgt was much more sensitive to my travel schedule after that. Personally, I think that if you come to a tipping point, you should let someone know. If there is no realization that this is really a serious problem, then find a job elsewhere. This is easier said than done, but so is repairing a stress-related disease like high blood pressure or an ulcer.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 4:44 am
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Fear of bring fired ? I remember that feeling.

I found being on the road, away from those pushing more and more work my way, that I started getting treated like a machine.

If I was looking/feeling worn out, they didn't know, they never saw my face. I was working up to 21 days at a stretch at 15 hrs/day then only taking 2-3 days off before the next stretch. My mental state was suffering, yet I said nothing.

Well, on a single day off after working 16 straight, I got a phone call asking where I was. "At home" was my answer. "I didn't get your holiday request" was the reply. To say 'I lost it' would be the understatement of the decade !

I didn't get fired, and things eventually changed.

Do something about it now, while you can still do it with a rational mind; and, if you're savvy enough, in such away that they think it was their idea.

If things start getting to me these days, I head for the great outdoors, just me and my tent.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 7:00 am
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Happened to me back in April. My daughter asked if I would be home for her volleyball game and I kinda snapped. Gave my notice and here I am at home. Loving life. I now operate my wife's dance studio (the business side). Take home about 15% of what I was making, but my blood pressure is down, I don't drink as much, I see a lot of volleyball and my sex life is infinitely better. ^
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Old Aug 22, 06, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by ContinentalFan
I just think of the mileage I will earn, the points on hotels and car rentals. Ultimately, it means that, apart from food, vacations are free. Not bad!
I have to start thinking like this. I'm about at the same place mentally that the OP is regarding travel. I have to try to change my attitude.... but the always changing security regulations are getting me down.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 1:09 pm
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While I'm on the road, I always carve out time for myself - usually two to three hours early evening to go for a run, rest, make personal calls, etc. I refuse to allow myself to get sucked into a 16-hour day with no breaks. I know working dinners (whether with clients or otherwise) are a fact of life on the road, so sometimes that means I leave the office at 4PM. I may be back "at work" (dinner) at 7PM and then answering work emails at midnight, so I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it. I'm pretty forceful about getting this time - I block it out in calendar and leave the building. I don't take a cell phone when I run. I'm unreachable...for just a little while each day.

That's refreshing. The run itself, combined with knowledge that I'm totally unreachable for a while, energizes me. I always try and do either tempo runs or hillwork when I travel. A kick butt hard workout for 60 minutes, give or take. Then a shower, a little chill-out time, and I'm ready to work again for a couple more hours. It still ends up being a very long day (14 hours or so is typical), but at least I feel like it was on MY terms.
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Old Aug 22, 06, 4:34 pm
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Thanks for the responses everyone. You know I was doing pretty good through the winter and spring until this summer hit. Lately, I've been away for 2-3 weeks at a time, and even when I'm home for 3 days in between they always demanding stuff out of me work-wise. Due to the nature of my work, it requires travel - thats fine. What I didn't realize was the intensity of my work, and the expectations when I am traveling. When I'm on the road, I'm routinely putting in 16-18 hour days. At least 12-14 hours at the client, then another 4 hours back in the hotel in the evening. I always attempt to fit in a work out in the evening. I usually go for a 30-60 minute run and then hit the gym for a little bit - helps me clear my mind. Its a must, but sometimes the client dinners (which I have now learned to hate) get in the way. When I end up being there over the weekend, I take one day off completely - no work, but the other day I end up spending most of the day working just to get caught up. My clients & my company expect us to meet these deadlines so there is always this enormous sense of urgency to get things done. I attempt keep my weekends at home clear, but usually I have to do stuff to prepare for the next week.

The summer is what did me in, as that has been my favorite time of the year to go out and enjoy the evenings. I haven't had the luxury this summer, except for every 2-3 weekends. I have lost complete track of time. I agree I need to cut back, because I am not disliking travel. 50% would be a happy medium, as I can't give it up completely, but I want some time to have a normal life at home too. Unfortunetely, I feel that is going to require a career change, which I am not quite ready for at this time.

I'm planning to take 2 weeks off in October and just clear my head. Like others have said, it will be time to do some soul searching. Right now, I've just been too busy to ponder all of this.

Its amazing what travel and the road life will do to you. I've always had some travel in my other jobs - maybe a few nights a month, but my travel has quickly escalated to nearly 100% now. I don't know how some of you do it, especially for as many years as you have. You're a better men (or woman) than me.
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