Being a 27 year veteran in the IT/ECM business, I have some unique perspectives to share with clients and colleagues regarding the industry, especially with respect to air travel. Air travel has always been a steady component of my IT/ECM career, starting in 1987 when I was tasked with building the ECM market for Wang Laboratories across the Western US, including Alaska and Hawaii and then progressing to air travel out to Asia Pacific.
Life revolved around the airlines and airline schedules and I would typically visit 2-3 cities per week, to work on RFPs, deliver presentations, help with projects, build vendor alliances and otherwise engage customers and prospects. This later expanded to include Asia Pacific and covered countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Borneo, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, European countries and probably other places and other countries that I don’t specifically recall at this point.
A typical transaction with my boss would consist of “Al, we need you to go to Singapore and work with client X, then head over to Germany and assist with client y project, check in with our folks in London as they need help, get to New York and Plano Texas and then be back by next week”, to which I would say “Um, you’re basically asking me to go around the world, right?”, to which the response was “yes I hope that you OK with that?”
The consequence of all this air travel is very interesting on the human body and I would like to suggest in this blog some basic guidelines and how/to concepts from a seasoned veteran / road warrior.
First, always look behind you when you leave a location, like a taxi, airport/aircraft seat, hotel room or what have you. Do the quick head side turn, the head flick, just like we do when we’re driving and changing lanes, and check the place you have just left, like my hotel room yesterday.
This head flick/last minute check has saved many a road warrior from leaving passports, MP3 players, headphones, cellphones, files and other essential paraphernalia and essential gear of the full-on road warrior. One small head flick can make the difference between a missing or recovering an important file, power cord, cell phone or other tool, which would otherwise be lost to eternity and create embarrassment, inconvenience, or unnecessary replacement costs.
Second, especially with international travel, put a note on the side table before you go to sleep, as to exactly where you are located. Typically the seasoned road warrior after a trip to Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, and Seoul in one week, wakes up in a panic and can’t remember where he/she is located. It’s the creepiest feeling and it’s due to all the time zone changes and impact on the body. That note on the table is very refreshing and reassurance and inspires confidence that the body knows where the body is located when that person awakes on that specific morning.
Third, take the stairs whenever possible. The body when travelling doesn’t get sufficient exercise and also is exposed to excess calories and roadie food which is typically in abundant proportions and perhaps one or two extra drinks on the road. Remember all those sumptuous buffets and catered lunches from generous business partners? Bodies are not necessarily meant to live in this calorie regimen and there is a distinct absence of exercise during air travel, typically associated with an expanding waist line or girth.
The answer? Simple – throw those bags over your shoulder and whenever/wherever possible take the stairs and not the escalator. Then see if you can outpace the people going up or down the escalator. (This also caters to the fundamental competitive nature of IT/ECM people). Test your breathing at the end of 50-60 stairs and feel the reward for quitting smoking or never taking up the pernicious habit.
I’ll have some other future insights into air travel in future blogs, especially the 2-3 flights where I nearly didn’t make it home, giving credence and reinforcing the ultimate road warrior concept, that, in air travel, any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing.
Thanks for listening and I hope this blog today assists you with your future air travel.
Marketing Manager / Business Analyst / Road Warrior
Western Integrated Systems