Work. Travel. Is It For You?

Traveling.

This is a word that people generally like to hear in their personal lives because it means that they are visiting a place they chose. However, travel is typically a word that many people do not like to hear in their professional lives? Why? Because you have to work, you’re away from your family, and you have to work.

With organizations requiring more with less, the chances of employees having to travel for work is increasing. Especially if the organization has multiple locations across the United States or world. So, how do you know if traveling for work is for you?

Before applying to a position that requires travel, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I want to travel?
  2. Am I willing to travel “X” percentage for the job?
  3. Would I be willing to use my personal vehicle if it was needed?
  4. Am I willing to spend time away from my family and friends?
  5. How much time am I willing to spend away from my family and friends?
  6. Do I have other obligations at home that I have to take care of – pet, outside workplace commitments, etc.?
  7. Am I alright with being alone?
  8. Do I want to go through TSA every time I travel (while exposed to radiation or groping)?
  9. Am I able to obtain a passport if needed for international travel?
  10. How long could I continue the travel requirements of the position?

When interviewing for a position that requires travel, you need to ask the following questions:

  1. How much travel is required – percentage or number of trips per year?
  2. Where are the locations that would require travel?
  3. What is the duration of the trips?
  4. Does the travel require driving or flying?
  5. If the travel requires driving, does it require the use of a personal vehicle or is there a company vehicle?
  6. What occurs when visiting the locations?

Based on my experience, travel can be fun and it can get old. In my current position, I support 47 locations in the Southeast, Mid-West, and West. Therefore, my position requires roughly 85%-90% of travel in which I am on the road about 3 weeks of the month. Since I do not have a lot of ties to where I live (all of my family live somewhere else), the traveling doesn’t bother me spaced out over time. I actually enjoy traveling and interacting with the branch managers and employees that I support. Getting out and interacting is what I love about my job! Typically when I visit a branch, I am interacting with employees (gauging temperament and morale in the branch), as well as auditing I-9s, employee files, affirmative action files, training, payroll, and postings. Additionally, I also support my other branches via telephone while I am traveling, which also includes working on investigations from afar, dealing with employee issues, and answering daily HR related questions.

These are the daily duties of a Regional HR Manager and I knew this is what was expected when I took the position. One plus is that I rack up frequent flier and hotel miles, but what is also great about this position is it affords me the opportunity meet up with my HR friends across the country.

Could you travel?

I want to hear from you. Do you have a position that requires an extensive amount of travel? How do you cope? Do you enjoy the traveling? What recommendations do you have for those that have to end up traveling for their position?

Photo Credit:

Gourmet.com

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One Comment

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  1. Kirk Baumann May 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Chris,

    Great post. Travel is something that sounds so glamorous at first. Then, the reality sets in when you actually have to go, go, go! I travel nearly 70% of the year, flying across the country and the world for business. People always say, “oh, how fun!” when I tell them that.

    Travel can be fun, but you have to make it that way. Too many people are grumpy when their flights are delayed or cancelled. It happens. Plan ahead! Here are my tips:

    1. Travel the day before if you can.
    2. Always carry gum with you (never know when you’ll need it.)
    3. Drink lots of water – you’ll get dehydrated.
    4. Bring your sense of humor. Stuff happens.
    5. Be nice to airport staff, TSA, hotel staff, etc. Most people are rude all day long. Smile and be courteous. Their job isn’t fun when people are mean.
    6. Make time for YOU. It’s too easy to work until you fall asleep in bed. Disconnect. Walk around the city. Go for a run. An hour of “me time” isn’t going to cause the world to come crashing down. Email can wait. You’re no good if you’re sick (or dead) because you haven’t taken care of yourself.

    Ok – I could probably write a book on this. :) Hopefully, the comments above will spark some additional conversation!

    Kirk Baumann
    http://www.campus-to-career.com
    @kbaumann

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