Bad Girl, Good Business

Business Trippin’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Going away for work is good. Here’s why.

Yesterday, my associate (intern) and I went on a short trip to meet with a client. I spent a long stretch of time with her — driving, eating, meeting. We learned things about each other (not of the TMI variety, but occasionally bordering it) that we wouldn’t have learned in the office.

I vividly remember the first business trips I went on. The first was with my post-college boss (who I thought was something of a weird¬†bird, and the trip confirmed it). We went to Texas and I remember eating Bananas Foster (at her insistence) and feeling young and awkward. I also remember going to a trade show in LA with an older (probably 30-something) and married editor from my company, who took me to a magic show and out dancing. It felt more like a date than a business trip, but I wasn’t sure what a business trip was supposed to be. The good news is that after the last dance we went back to our respective rooms and spent the next day very professionally at a trade show booth. Perhaps he just liked magic and dancing. I’ll never know.¬†But speaking of TMI…

Let’s get back to the point of the headline. I probably have been on 100’s of business trips throughout my career. Some local. Some international. Sometimes exhausting. Always interesting. Especially the ones with other people.

Going on a business trip enables you to get to know your colleagues outside of the work environment and can reveal a lot about their character and history. For example:

  1. How they treat service people along the way. Very telling.
  2. How they deal with delays and frustrations (inevitable in air travel these days). I went on a trip with a senior executive and we got stranded due to a blizzard. She completely wigged-out. We were with a large group, and that night at dinner we compared notes about what we had purchased to get through the night. She had bought (among other things) slippers and a bathrobe. I guess she needed creature comforts to feel empowered. Not judging…just observing.
  3. Expense accounts are tricky things. They are intended to cover costs of business-related travel. But I’ve been with people who totally took advantage of the system, charging all kinds of things to the company card. A fine line exists between bending the rules and stealing. Mascara is NOT a business supply (unless, of course you’re stranded overnight…see #2).
  4. If you’re a good conversationalist, you can learn things about your travel companion’s career and philosophies. (But tread lightly here, if you’re the supervisor…certain questions are illegal and totally inappropriate! See below. ) You can also get/give feedback about performance in a more relaxed setting. My associate was bold enough to give me some helpful advice! If you’re reading this, thank you!
  5. What kind of mood someone is in before he/she has coffee.

 

Business trip wisdom (and some wit):

BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred Etiquette tips for traveling with “the boss.”
BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred Lots of business trip tips.
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred Don’t ask these questions!
BGGB_Pointer Things you do on business trips that you wouldn’t do at home.

 


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