Friday, March 13, 2015

Jump Fatigue IRL

Okay, I'm back from from a business trip that consumed most of my week so that I could attend 6 hours of meetings on Wednesday.

The place I was visiting is approximately a 9 hr drive from my home.  It's located in a reasonably large metro area, but happens to be in a part of the country that is surrounded by large airport hubs, and is overshadowed by them, i.e. there are very few flights servicing the exact airport I needed to get to/from.  The corporate policy I deal with ties my hands on travel, resulting in wasted time and energy for the sake of appearances.

To be clear - as a mid-level manager in my organization, I have almost free reign over programmatic issues.  I can make million dollar decisions with a phone call, and my daily responsibilities include making decisions that can take human life (in a very dramatic fashion) if there is ever a failure of our product.

Yet on the administrative side I am hamstrung by one-size-fits-all policies that (for example) include a large bias towards NOT driving for routine travel.  The corporate goons can't and won't ever understand my programmatics, and therefore don't even try to intrude (thank God).  But they will argue with me about $50 decisions to take Airline X vs. Airline Y (even though with bag fees it's cheaper to fly Airline X).  Or they'll tell me by edict that I can't possibly drive 9 hours and that it "looks better" if I simply conform and spend 12+ hours in the airport to reach the same destination.  I can't, (again by edict) fly into Las Vegas (because of "appearances") even though I can get a direct flight there and drive (total door to door time of 6 hours), vs. being forced to take a connection and THEN drive from a less provocative airport (total door to door time of 12 hours).

So, on Tuesday, we spent about 12 hours getting to our destination instead of driving for 9.  On paper it looked a lot better - I should have been onsite by 2 in the afternoon.  But, first flight was delayed 20 minutes, meaning we missed our connection after a mad scramble from gate C24 to gate A1-G, through tunnels, up escalators, down escalators, and even a friggin' train.  We missed our connection by 5 minutes.  Instead of waiting for another 8 hours for the next flight (or hahaha, taking another flight that sent me to Dallas and THEN back to my destination), I grabbed a rental and drove the final ~120 miles to the endpoint.  The additional rental car cost was $177 to add the 1-way route, and I fully expect to get reamed on Monday over it.

Yesterday, likewise, included every dumb thing an airport can do to you and I spent a tad over 12 hours fighting airports, mechanical delays, missed connections, TSA shenanigans (complete with squad cars and a men-in-black suburban surrounding our embrair commuter plane just before we pushed back).

Bonus points was the redneck 3 rows away from me with incredible body odor (dude, you may be wearing full camo so we can't SEE you, but we sure as hell can SMELL you).

This is a rant, I know. I really started typing to try to explain why the posts here have been quiet.  The meetings themselves were productive, and I got to spend quality time (i.e. schmooze, hobnob, brown nose, pick your verb) with one of our offsite bigwigs that sends us $$.  Had I to do over, I would still attend the meeting.

And I really love my job.  I do.  Apart from some arcane admin policies, we're not that bad.  We have a great local team and the things we do have lasting impacts.  We do cool things on a cool product with very little adult supervision.  It is by far the best job I've had in a 15 year career, and it's a job that I hope to retire from in another 15-20.

But dammit, I'm about to go to my doctor and complain about an "inner ear condition" so that I can get a note that lets me drive instead of fly.

So yes, this ... this is what Jump Fatigue looks like in real life.  More posts to follow, I've had plenty of down time lately to ponder topics to write about.

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