Let’s talk a little about business travel. This isn’t a new topic for me, but it tends to be top of mind when I’m about to go on a business trip.
My last trip, I learned something about myself. I have to trust my gut and take some “time-out” when it is handed to me even if it means that I’m in Minneapolis, MN in January. My guilty admission – I think that I made the WRONG choice during a missed opportunity and have regretted it since.
So picture this:
In mid-December, I booked my flight for lovely Minneapolis. From January 11 to 13 (THREE DAYS!!!), I managed to lock in a whirl-wind trip that had me seeing four different clients – one on Monday, two on Tuesday and one on Wednesday morning. Then, back to Chicago on Wednesday afternoon by 3pm to be the good wife and mom and have (er…make) dinner for the family.
Two weeks later, my Wednesday meeting gets cancelled. I look into changing my flight and figure out that it is over $150 cheaper to simply stay over and keep my original flight vs. changing my flight to come home on Wednesday.
Now – this is what is going through my mind at the time of this discovery…
“Hmmmm….is this ok? Is it really ok to not come home on Tuesday if I can? I won’t have a single meeting on Wednesday. I would have a hotel room to myself until 11am and then fly home by 2pm. That sort of sounds like a vacation. Can I really do this???”
So I start thinking about it. My husband is actually on vacation the entire week that I’m gone. So, he really should be fine, right? The kids are in school, and he has a sitter for after-school. He can still enjoy his time off. He starts a new job the following week, which is going to make both of our schedules insanely busy. Then, I travel again on January 25 (two weeks later). I come to a decision – Screw it! I’m going to give myself a break and stay over. It’s cheaper for my company and my husband and kids won’t know the difference.
I tell Craig and he says to go for it. I start to get excited. I even tell my friends and family about my “vacation.” Can you imagine? A whole morning alone in a hotel room. Room service for dinner and breakfast. It is going to be amazing!!!
One week later – January 11
The day arrives. I am ready! I’m all set for my client meetings. Looking forward to seeing my co-worker. This is going to be a great trip.
My flight leaves on time and even arrives in Minneapolis early. This is definitely going to be a great trip!
I turn on my phone on the plane and notice two messages:
- Weather alert: It’s a balmy -8 degrees in Minneapolis today. Not great but not unexpected. It is January. I packed appropriately. I got this!
- Meeting Cancellation Notice: Guess I need to look into this one. Wait! What??? This is a cancellation notice for tomorrow’s afternoon client meeting! This must be a mistake. Please let this be a mistake. If I have no afternoon meeting, I have no reason to stay. My morning meeting ends at 10am. What do I do??
So what would you do?
So what do I do? What would you do? It was Minneapolis in -8 degree weather. Enjoying a morning in a hotel room would have been fun. Being stuck in my hotel room all day and the following morning sounded awful. And then the mom guilt set in. It would be cheaper to change my flight now that my afternoon meeting was cancelled then to stay in the hotel. How could I choose to spend more and stay over? How could I choose not to go home?
So I came home. I came home on Tuesday, and jumped right into working mom life. And I regret it. Which sounds awful but is true.
It has been a very long month with the holidays, and the kids off school for winter break, then work and my husband’s job transition to his new job, and the million other things that are going on. It’s okay to be tired and admit it. But I need to learn from this. Because regret isn’t something that you can allow yourself to dwell on. We all regret decisions, but if you dwell on them, they become bigger and more regretful… Instead, I am choosing to learn.
Tomorrow, I fly out again for Minneapolis. But this trip, I’m staying over until Wednesday morning vs. taking the 9pm flight home Tuesday night. I’m giving myself some breathing room. I’ve learned my lesson.