I’m changing my tune on business travel. I started with getting up in time to shower, pack and cab to Union Station in time to make an 6:00 Acela to New York; I am not a morning person and was impressed with myself. The rest of the day I stayed on a productive roll; best of all was getting to our New York office early and spending the entire workday surrounded by colleagues.
It’s an interesting experience working from home. Most people respond to the news that I work from my living room with envy, and honestly, I can see why you would say that. I shower whenever it’s convenient among tasks; I can sleep in until 8:30 and have NO trouble being around whenever anyone needs anything and the evening may find me in the same pair of basketball shorts I threw on when I woke up; I shave pretty much on the days I’m lucky enough to see Alison; because I don’t eat much, in the summertime I can take half an hour in the pool and half an hour next to it … and call it lunch. Those are all pretty fantastic things.
And those are all the aspects to my life that are related to convenience or fun. I’m also able to eat for cheap instead of having to pack a lunch or pay deli prices. Productivity? Get me started – I dare you. I don’t have the distractions of the bathroom doors slamming, or people yelling at each other in the break room, or that guy whom secretly no one likes insisting on stopping by and chatting while I wish I were accomplishing something. No one is yammering into a phone while I’m trying to concentrate on a call. Climate control is entirely my own decision. When the World Cup starts a month from today, I’ll see every US match in the first round (and hopefully beyond) while I’m puttering away in a database.
In fact, it would be perfect if human beings weren’t social animals.
After all of that, you’d think that this would be a rant (as has happened before). But I’m loving the change of pace in New York because of the intangibles that I don’t get on my living room couch. When I’m here, I get news of the direction our business is going; I meet people who have come on board amid my company’s recent expansion; I find out about who’s in political battles with whom. I can sit down with the technical team and train them, and be trained; compare notes with my buddy Sean; remind my boss what I look like (granted, only arguably an advantage).
And hey, the coffee doesn’t cost me anything. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal if you’re not familiar with my caffeine habit.
More than anything, things are interesting for a couple of days. I generally like my job but when the surroundings never change, you sink into it and lose the human contact with everyone else who is working toward the same thing you are. My friend Brian just posted that it’s good he has travel coming up because everyone tells him that his Facebook status updates are boring when he’s home — I realized that I feel the same way (about mine, not Brian’s).
“The grass is always greener” is roughly equivalent to, “the glass is half empty.” I’m realizing this week that the grass is green on both sides of my fence. Physically being in New York is great for reminding me that I’m part of a team and for jumpstarting my attitude.
Now, if I could just get them to let me come to the office in my pajamas …