When the economy went by the wayside last fall, many businesses and travel agencies took a major hit. Agencies closed or merged, everyone began scrambling to salvage what business they had. Huge travel policy cuts or lack of travel in general was a common denominator. Unfortunately with that came the layoffs. Many agents in other offices were in the same predicament, simply not enough work for the staff, the phones just weren’t ringing like they normally were.
I watched several friends and colleagues receive their pink slips and quietly head to the unemployment line. Our office became a real life ghost town; I could almost imagine the tumbleweeds rolling down the aisles. Those of us that remained were in constant fear of that dreaded call from the boss. We constantly asked the same question—“am I next?”
However, towards the end of July, we noticed a major upturn in our call volume; the phones were ringing, and travelers were travelling. It gave us hope, and put smiles on our faces that things were looking up. Since then, business has been much better and those of us that are still here are now doing the jobs of three people instead of just ourselves—that’s the downside. We are all stretched to the very limit. Is that a good thing? Yes for the owners who are seeing profit again, but for those of us on the front lines…not so much. Don’t misunderstand, we are all extremely thankful that we still have jobs, and that the lines are busy with work. But when you are starting work at 6am and working until 10pm just to keep up with a day’s work, it gets exhausting. I find myself lying in bed at night going through the previous day in my head, hoping to God I booked that limo for Mr. Jones, and that I called in the upgrade for Mr. Smith. The check marks on my to-do list look like my 2 year old attacked it with her crayons.
Over the past few months, there have been too many frustrated tears, too much snapping at colleagues, friends, spouses, editors, and even the mailman because he’s a few minutes late. Severe lack of sleep is the norm and for some too many cocktails. All in all it is not a really good combination. But as we work our way out of this recession, it is getting better and we need to be thankful for small favors!
What about you? Is travel picking back up and getting back into the normal groove? Do you find yourself completely overworked now that it is? How do you handle it? Vent your frustrations to someone who can share your pain in the comments.
Lisa Rapavi is a Corporate Travel Agent for The Leaders Group based in Montvale NJ. She is a home based working from her home in PA. She has been an agent for over 18 years, working in all facets of travel, but focus’ her travel skills in the corporate travel arena. Lisa can be contacted at L.Rapavi@tlgtravel.com