Back in the Saddle Again
For the past 20 years, I used to travel for work nearly every week. My days were spent meeting with current and former clients of AbelsonTaylor. Then, on March 16, 2020, that all changed.
And it was in many ways wonderful. I spent every day with my lovely bride Rhonda. My dog, Bossa Nova, did not know that he was my dog until I was home every day. (As I write this on a lazy Sunday afternoon, he’s perched on the day bed directly next to me, able to beg for a belly rub if I get up.) I was able to quickly make the shift to online meetings, and the fact that AT did more than 20 pitches online in 2020 suggests that I managed to keep busy.
After a brief (and thankfully mild) episode of COVID in February, I had the opportunity to be vaccinated on March 8, 2021, on the very first day I was eligible. Immediately, my thoughts shifted to when, not if, I would return to the job I think I was born for. Fully immune after my second vaccine in mid-April, I ventured out to see others who were likewise vaccinated.
And that was wonderful. I have finished my third week on the road, and it has been amazing to spend time with smart people who share my passion for making the world better by delivering better health solutions. Everybody’s a little tentative, restrictions are still in place as our country loosens in response to a diminishing threat, but a Webex can never replace spending quality time with like-minded people and exchanging ideas and philosophies. And perhaps sharing a bottle of wine or two…
The travel part, unsurprisingly, sucks. Don’t get me wrong, travel pre-COVID was not a picnic, and I had regularly suffered from delayed and cancelled flights, dark and dreary hotel rooms, and sleep disturbances by time changes. And honestly, airplanes and hotels this time around aren’t really worse, just different. All my flights (thus far) have departed and landed on time, and the basic services like a cup of coffee in the morning and the ability to eat late at night if necessary are still at hotels. Some of the niceties will come later, but it hasn’t been bad.
The problem, I think, is that I have become spoiled by a year at home. I live in a bucolic little town in Southwestern Michigan, the town where I grew up. We have two stoplights in Berrien Springs (OK, they become flashing red lights at midnight), and we’re darn proud of them.
Net/net, I think that I, like so many others, have been permanently changed by the pandemic. As we come out of our metaphoric caves, we enjoy the sunshine, but there are behaviors that we’ve learned that we will choose to unlearn.
Like so many of my peers, I long to spend time in the office with other smart people, because collaboration is better in person. And because it is my talent and passion, I long to spend a lot of time on the road. But not every week, like I did before.
I expect that each of you has stories to tell, and new insights into your lives and careers post-pandemic. I would love to hear them. Let’s start a dialogue. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll promise to read and respond. Let’s enjoy the sunshine again… with a promise to learn from our experience.