Business Travel – Is it Worth It?

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Gail Golden, Gail Golden Consulting, LLC, answers this burning question.

As many businesses outsource work that used to be internal, there’s more and more work for consultants of all sorts. Consulting can be fascinating and lucrative, but it also has its challenges, one of which is business travel.

Depending on the consulting gig, travel can be very rare, or you can leave home Sunday evening and return Friday evening, every week. How do you decide how much travel is right for you? Here are some considerations, which apply equally to women and men:

Do you like to travel? Even with all the hassles of air travel these days, some people get a kick out of landing in different cities, finding their way around, staying at nice hotels and eating in good restaurants. Just be aware that business travel is not the same as vacation travel. Consultants work very hard when they’re on the road, with little time for relaxation.

Is willingness to travel a key to success on your job? If your bonus or your prospects for promotion depend on travel, you’ll need to get out there.

Can the work be done online or by phone? More and more consulting is done at a distance. Sometimes you may have an initial meeting face-to-face and then do the rest of the project virtually.

Are you looking for a romantic partner? A lot of travel wreaks havoc with your social life at home. You can certainly find companionship in an airport bar, but if you want to focus on finding ‘the one,’ don’t spend a lot of time on the road.

Is your relationship solid? If so, being away from home a lot probably won’t do much harm. But if your relationship is already rocky, being away frequently can bring it to the breaking point.

How old are your kids? For small children, a parent going away even for a day or two feels like a very long time. For teenagers, any empty house can lead to all kinds of mayhem.

Are you caring for elderly relatives? Eldercare is very unpredictable, and it’s horrible to get a crisis call when you’re halfway across the country.

At its best, business travel is fun and engaging. At its worst, it’s a grim grind. Finding the balance that works for you will make the difference.

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About Gail Golden

Gail Golden is Principal of Chicago’s Gail Golden Consulting, LLC, a management psychology firm specializing in helping companies to select and develop their senior leadership talent. Dr. Golden has more than 20 years of experience in consulting and clinical psychology. She is currently coaching a number of Chicago’s senior executives, consulting with both for-profit and not-for-profit firms about strategic leadership development, and leading workshops on innovation, negotiation skills, and a variety of other topics.