Long Days: A Bit of Perspective

I don’t know about you, but yesterday was a long day for me.

  • 5:30 AM – Alarm
  • 5:45 AM – Let dog out, feed pets.
  • 6:20 AM – Make wife’s latte, get her out the door.  Work until I wake up the kids.
  • 7:30 AM – Wake up kids, get them started on breakfast. Jump in shower.
  • 8:00 AM – Check on kids breakfast and get backpacks ready for school. Iron shirt.
  • 8:30 AM – Drop kids at neighbors house before bus comes.  Car service picks me up to go to airport.
  • 9:15 AM – Get to airport. Flight delayed. Grab coffee and start working.
  • 11:45 AM – Flight to Boston. Work on flight.
  • 1:00 PM – Land, take cab to meeting.
  • 2:30 PM – New business pitch (Nailed it. If I do say so myself.)
  • 5:30 PM – Cab back to airport
  • 6:00 PM – Check in, go through security and sit down for first meal of the day. (Ok. I had a beer too.)
  • 7:30 PM – Flight home and work on flight.
  • 9:00 PM – Land, car service picks me up to go home.
  • 10:00 PM – Get home. Collapse.

If you’re a business traveler, you’ve had days like this. And in the middle of a long day, when you’re going from place to place and living the “jet set” life, it’s easy to think you’re “hot shit.”

But guess what… you’re not.

Here’s some perspective on what some of the people I met throughout the day went through:

  • The driver who took me at the airport in the morning… picked me up in the evening.
  • The crew on my flight home said hello to their 5:00 shadow several hours and 4 cities ago.
  • The server who brought me that great (first) meal, was at the end of her shift and was running to get her kids from day care.  (All while still being pleasant and recommending what was good on the menu and what sucked).
  • My wife (a teacher) was grading papers when I got home.

Everyone had a long day.

And yet. How many times have you seen some jackass lay into someone because he didn’t get his drink fast enough or get the perk he thought he was entitled to.

We ALL work hard. Period.

Let’s remember the next time you’ve had a long day, feel frustrated and tired – chances are the person you are about to yell at feels the same way.

Take a deep breathe. And take a step back to calm down. Smile. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask what kind of day did they have.

We’re not that much different at the end of the day. You’ll be glad you added some perspective.


Note: Before you say “He used a car service instead of a plain cab!!?. He must think he’s special.” I discovered Uber for on demand car service. It costs about the same as a cab but is much more convenient (for me and the drivers) and is a way better experience (think “car service for normal people”). If you haven’t discovered Uber yet, try it out. You’ll never take a regular cab again.


The Road Ready Family

I travel enough for work that I have the walking-strip-show down pat as I prepare for security. I’m pretty much unfazed by travel delays and can deal with schedules being off as I go across time zones.

But ask me to travel with my family and I become a different person.  (Just put me in that “Casual Traveller Line” at security.)

Everything has to be in it’s perfect spot in our luggage, boarding passes prepped as soon as possible, itineraries mapped out and – most important – getting to the airport super early so I can get the kids through security.

So I was shocked at 5 AM this morning as both kids calmly kicked their shoes off, put their stuff in a bin and walked through security like a seasoned road-warrior.  Heck, I was still putting my laptop in the bin and emptying my pockets as they got waved through the metal detector.

And this was after they calmly woke at 4 AM, grabbed the rolling bags to check out of the hotel and walked through the airport like a foreign correspondent heading off on another assignment.

Hmm. guess the apples didn’t fall far from the tree and they have a thing or two to show their dad.