Just when we think we have things in control—life throws us a curve ball or, in some cases, a knuckle ball. Some days are good, some are bad. When it’s a bad day it can be a really, really bad day. The car refuses to start at the most inopportune time or as far away from home as possible. The dog throws up. The cat has a hairball. Your angelic child gets detention. The dishwasher is creating a lake in the middle of your kitchen. And, that knocking sound? It’s not the UPS man. It’s your washing machine. That bottle of Merlot is starting to look very tempting right about now.
It’s the same with business. Good days and bad days. Some days you are on top of the world and everything is right as rain. Then a black cloud descends and everything that can go wrong does. Weather has wrecked havoc on your client’s flights and they call screaming at you. That destination wedding group heading to sunny Jamaica is stuck on the tarmac and the bride is hysterical. People pick your brain-take your quote and book it on-line for $20.00 less. Your printer is going berserk and spitting out papers at you like it’s possessed. Your computer gets the latest virus and it’s not the flu nor will a simple fix cure it. Your family demands your time and don’t understand your work commitment. And, your neighbor’s think you don’t really “work” at home so they send Dennis the Menace over. On and on. Sometimes, you just want to tear your hair out or find where you stashed the rum.
I think it is important in this business that we not only have a strong support system but we nurture our relationships and friendships with others in the industry. Let’s face it—being a travel agent or consultant or whatever you call yourself has its own set of challenges. As Kermit the Frog said, “It ain’t easy being green.” Well some days it ain’t easy being a travel agent. As an agent working from home some days the only people I see are the dog and cat. In the winter when it’s 10 degrees and every weather forecaster is predicting Snow Armageddon it gets really lonely. I find on-line communities such as TRO a valuable resource in helping me keep my sanity. On-line forums for travel agents provide a place to vent, cry, laugh , swap Mojito Recipes and get insight on destinations & resorts. While on-line communities are great sometimes what we really need is a voice on the other end of the phone telling us we are not crazy and this too shall pass. Better yet a cup of coffee or lunch with a fellow travel agent or two can save your sanity. I know a group of agents in one city who have breakfast once a week . What a great idea. Travel agents as a whole are a social group. Call an agent in your town and get together for coffee or lunch or heck even Mojitos. Use the on-line forums as not only a resource but a support system.
To my friends in the industry, thank you for not only being my support system but for listening and putting up with my craziness.
Mary Stephan is the President of Allons Travel based in Powell, OH. For more information, you can contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.