Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Business Trips

Photo: Paul Hadley -
Yikes. I just can't work today. I can't focus. And I have so much urgent stuff that needs to be addressed. But I am staring out the window. Thoughts swirling. Wanting to write, but not even sure how to focus all of my thoughts. Is this because I leave in less than a week for a 2-week business trip?

I haven't traveled for work for about a year - by my choosing. In fact what am I even doing here? I quit earlier this year. Worked through the stress of that, worked up the courage and then quit. But it did not stick. They asked me back. They were persuasive, but also it was me. The idea of not letting completely go and of bringing in some income felt safer, more secure. I was afraid to walk off that edge. The money this year has been a big help. Even if I am only earning half the salary I once did, it helped us to get settled out here in SLC and helped pay for the wedding.

But now I look at my situation. A new project. Craziness. My hours have increased. My choice yes, but it feels like a necessity to get everything done for this new project. The old stress has crept back into my being. The stress that is so familiar with starting up a new, huge, important project overseas. I am consumed by this new project. It is hard not to be. And now I have agreed not only to increase my hours, but also to travel out there to assist. I question whether or not I really had to do this or not. It is true we are scrambling to have enough people out there to get everything done and to ensure there are always people there during these first two months of start up. We moved fast and we are rolling on this project. That is a good feeling. I've seen too many projects have haven't done this and they fall apart before they even start.

So, yes I do believe it is necessary for me to be out there. For the second week of my trip everyone else is gone, including the COP, and it will be me running the show. And honestly, there is a big part of me that wants to go. This project feels like my baby. A baby I helped create and deliver and nurture. More than a year of my blood, sweat and tears. From making a trip out there to gather early intelligence because we knew it was coming, to leading the development of the proposal, to delivering it a year ago, to painful events over the past year related to contractual issues, staffing changes and the need to rebid the whole thing, finally to the sweet, sweet successful birth. The announcement that we won this $19 M project two days before my wedding was a beautiful wedding gift. The largest project our energy team has won. A new country for our energy team. The kind of work we do best. This has secured our team meeting our business targets for this year. That is a BEAUTIFUL feeling. And one we don't get often.

Yes I am excited about this trip. I am excited to be on the ground, not just working it from a computer in my house. I am excited to contribute. I am excited to see all the wonderful people I met there - people I really like. I am excited to make progress on what could be (please please please) a really awesome and constructive project. But, I have the feelings I always have before a trip. I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave my husband, my house, my day to day life here. Even for two weeks. I don't want to die in a plane crash and ruin what I have.

My best friend just left for a work assignment for three months in Pakistan. Now THAT is a trip! I guess I have nothing to complain about in comparison to that. We were both discussing this exact thing before she left - the excitement and the attraction of these kinds of work assignments mixed with the dread of upsetting and holding up one's personal life. Even two weeks is very, very disruptive. My life was so disrupted for many years due to the amount of international work travel I did. Sure it was fun. I have great experiences, great memories, great friends from all of that. But I also wasn't able to put strong roots down with my ex-husband or with my old community.

I look forward to this trip but I am still deciding if this might be my last one. I certainly will not pick up the traveling like I used to. Sorry. I will leave my job if I have to. I am still trying to determine how much of this business travel is ok - how much feels right for me and for my husband. I hope my eyes will be opened and my vision more clear after this trip.

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