Since getting back from a work trip a few weeks ago, I’ve been asking myself a question. Before I pose my deep, philosophical question, I need to build up a bit of a framework.
As a person who’s job description does not include constant travel, when I leave the office for vacation or a business trip, it should be a refreshing change of pace and not a hassle. I get to have new surroundings and break up the monotony a bit.
While on the road, all is cheery, I’m meeting new people and seeing new things. My out of office auto-reply is on, letting everyone know that I won’t be able to respond until a future date. Isn’t that one of the greatest technological inventions? It’s a legitimate Get Out of Jail Free card when it comes to response time! Beyond the joy of having a Get Out of Jail Free card, problems that would normally fall on my desk can either make themselves very cozy while I’m away or find someone else to resolve them (preference goes to the latter). My regular work responsibilities? I have none!
Or that’s what it feels like. Until I came back.
I’m not sure where I think all those phone messages or emails are going. You’d think after this happened numerous times, I would be more realistic about the mess that will be waiting for me when I return. But if you’re thinking that, you may want to reassess. Every time is a shocker for me. When I returned home from Jamaica last week, I was again struck by the large number of emails and phone messages for me.
To get my head above water again, I spent numerous nights burning the midnight oil. It was during one of these late nights that I started wondering… What is the purpose of getting away if it means you’ll have all of your accumulated work in addition to your regular work with no additional time? If there were a math equation for this, I would imagine it to be something along these lines:
(Regular workload + Out of office workload )/8 hours = Impossible
One should keep in mind that I work with my family so citing the federal government’s overtime statutes doesn’t quite cut it. Plus, I’m salaried.
While my co-workers help me out by answering questions and fielding calls, the pile of work that builds up when I’m away is substantial. I work on the operations side of our host agency in a position that is a bit too varied for my co-workers to be able to step in. I’m curious what other agents with specialized roles in small companies do when they’re away.
Perhaps if you’re up late burning the midnight oil, we could keep each other company.
Stephanie Lee works in Operations at Travel Quest, a host agency out of MN with over 200+ home-based travel agents. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University with a degree in Environmental Studies/Liberal Studies. She was awarded ASTA Young Professional of the Year in 2008 and was named one of Travel Agent’s “30 under 30” in 2009. She can be reached at Stephanie@TQagents.com, via Google+, or 800.392.6484. For more information on Travel Quest visit www.TQagents.com or www.facebook.com/TQagents
Comments to this article are welcomed and encouraged, please utilize the comment form below so we can all learn and interact with each other!