The Rookie Road Warriors

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    Ah, there’s business travel and then there’s business travel. The last ten years of my tech career, business travel was typically catch the 7:30 AM flight from Denver to the West Coast, snatch the rental car, spend late morning and the afternoon in the “big meeting” with the other company’s tech people, then catch the 7:30 PM flight back to Denver. If the meeting was going to run all day, they sent me out the day before. If I was lucky, they’d send me early enough that I could worry about where to get dinner.

    Occasionally I was lucky enough to be the techie tag-along for the VIP version of that. Catch the corporate jet at 8:30 AM, ride to the meeting in the chauffeured limo, dinner at the VIP’s choice on their tab, and then fly back whenever the VIP decided to leave. Those meetings were a lot less fun, though. The usual instructions to me were, “Mike, your job in this meeting is to ask two questions about the other side’s product that will embarrass their tech guys because the questions are obviously insightful but they don’t know the answer. Other than that, be quiet.”Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Soon you will be like George Clooney in Up in the Air.

    I am a notorious over-packer because what if something goes wrong and you need to stay longer than necessary. Plus options are nice. I recently went on an overnight business trip to Chicago and packed like I was staying two nights instead of one, just in case. Luckily two nights is still enough for a weekend bag and not a luggage role on.

    Lee and my dad are expert business travelers and have done the fly out early in the morning, do the work, and fly back the same night thing.

    For my first business trip, I had a meeting on Monday night and a meeting/training session on Tuesday morning. The most interesting thing was people who dressed casual, business casual (including the Jeans and sportcoat thing), and who wore full suits/business attire. I was in the casual camp. I also gave myself a few hours on Tuesday to check out Chicago by being on a later flight out. I am sure this is considered an amateur move by seasoned business travelers but I’ve never been to the city and wanted to check out the Art Institute.Report

  3. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Here’s how bad it got: I started going to church. I was told about a nice little Unitarian Universalist church and I started showing up. It was something I looked forward to on Sundays. And then I had the rest of the day before me.

    This would make a lovely post. I’ve been longing for church service; singing and talking about how to be good people and how to help other people. Sharing food and working in community together.

    I just have a problem with the whole god thing. Much of what we do in god’s name is so good; I really dig Jesus’s message of helping those around you in need. I think that was a prophetic message, a path for us to survive the future. But I just do not believe in gods; they’re created in our image.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to zic
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      says:

      Judaism has never had much of a problem welcoming those who are a bit… skeptical of god.
      In fact, Philo would say that all that we know of G-d is what he is not. He is not unjust, not cruel. Because G-d is much larger than we are…

      Christians insist on faith. Jews simply say, “did you do good?” (note: openly preaching about how there is no god is seen as not doing good, simply because other people (*cough* small children *cough*) may need there to be a G-d in order to do good).Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to zic
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      says:

      My father-in-law travelled for business. A lot. I first met him when he was on a trip into Boston to raise money for a venture fund. I took him to Emack and Bolios, an ice cream shop on Newbury St. where I had a friend working, and this made him very happy. We had a great relationship, talked deeply about things, and it started with his business trip into town where his son was going to college, and his son’s girlfriend was available to fill a few of his hours.

      My sweetie, on the other hand, had a dad away a lot, didn’t feel he had a close relationship; thankfully, it improved.

      Sweetie’s parents were the Greatest Generation. They were beautiful people, my father-in-law and his wife. Very successful; in part, despite earning good money, they were thrifty. He brought home hotel soaps, shoe horns, matches, swizzle sticks. And they kept them, moving them from house to house to house. When my sweetie’s mom died last summer, we found about 30 shoe boxes filled with soap, some going back 50 years. Hoarding, you see, is a hallmark of the Greatest Generation. My step-father just passed away, and we have to clean out his house, too. It’s a lot of work.

      So my advice: do not bring things back. And work know the details of your loved ones’ lives, stay connected to them, don’t let them drift away from you.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to zic
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      says:

      Philo’s influence on Christianity far outstrips his influence within Judaism, which makes his a strange name to evoke as an example of a feature of Judaism that differs from Christianity.

      “For of virtues, the virtues of God are founded in truth, existing according to his essence: since God alone exists in essence, on account of which fact, he speaks of necessity about himself, saying, ‘I am that I Am.'”

      See, e.g., every peripatetic Christian scholar ever.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
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      says:

      Hey, Zic.

      I wrote this last year:
      https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2013/12/26/finding-fellowship-while-avoiding-the-spots-in-the-carpet-where-the-furniture-used-to-be

      Having just re-read it, I don’t think that I can say anything without repeating myself to the point where anyone wouldn’t be better served by just re-reading that one.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic
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      says:

      @zic, according to the New York Times; there are atheist congregations for people that miss the social part of religious gatherings but can’t stand the God part. The only problem is that they seem to be big on Bon Jovi because its apparently easy to get a bunch of people to sing that in something roughly equivalent to harmony.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Sadly, @leeesq I doubt there’s a bon Jovi congregation here in rural Maine; too recent. Music here’s stuck in the 1970’s, so there might be a Neil Young congregation, probably filled out with members of a model railroading club and a few stray Sonic Youth fans.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        But the atheists always get it into fights with the agnostics about which god not to worship.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @mike-schilling, or whether its appropriate for atheists to sing Living on a Prayer.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @leeesq prayer is an interesting thing; I consider it a form of meditation and way to organize one’s thoughts, in a dire moment, a wish for help and solace. I think it’s something human minds do, and one name for it is prayer. The rituals of prayer provide a way of organizing that thought, which is very useful; particularly in times when our minds race and our thoughts are scattered.

        That the prayer is to a god almost seems incidental, more a method of imposing that form based on ones social traditions.

        I think that most of the things that we do because of religion have some benefit, and eons of experimentation by religious leaders has weeded out the most useless and cobbled together the most useful in the form of a religious tradition. Throwing the prayer out with belief is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it fails to consider why prayer might be a benefit and how one can garner that benefit.

        A wing and a prayer helps us become our better angels and combat our internal demons.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    My current business travel schedule is (generalizing from two examples) “Go to Seattle for a half-week every six months”, which is far easier than the previous “Go to Buenos Aires for a week every six months, plus scattered travel within the US.” The latter varied between the sort of “fly in, attend a meeting, and fly back out” Michael Cain describes, and a week spent helping out at a customer site.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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      says:

      Why wouldn’t Skype work?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Skype is OK for scheduled meetings and quick questions. I haven’t seen it be nearly as useful for grabbing a few people for a quick chat, especially across time zones. And I find that if you’re going to be working closely on a team, face to face helps build personal relationships in a way that electronic communication can’t.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Based on my research experiences in the early days of real-time low-latency multi-media desktop conferencing over IP networks (that is, the generic description of Skype and its various competitors), it’s good for follow-on meetings where most of the participants already know each other. Many of my West-Coast-and-back meetings were initial contacts — I worked for a giant tech-dependent company and we were approached by many small businesses with “the next big thing.” No one wanted to either give or receive the presentation at the heart of those by video conference.

        Our work suggested that the importance of the media was (1) audio, (2) some sort of smart-ish paper, and (3) video. In a meeting context, video is usually for body language with the correct shot showing from about navel to a few inches over the subject’s head. If the subject can’t shift from leaning on one arm of their chair to the other and stay entirely in frame, the shot’s too tight. That’s a pretty demanding set of requirements. The standard camera-on-monitor arrangement doesn’t do it, at least if the monitor also has to do the smart-paper thing. If I were designing a system from scratch, I’d leave the audio and video on the main monitor, but do the smart paper on a 9×12-inch tablet-like thingie that includes a high-res digitizer and stylus.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    Awesome piece, guys. Love the back and forth!

    I’ve traveled minimally for work and it was to attend a conference, so the situation was quite different. However, I find that the downtime in the evening is a great time to connect via phone or text with old friends. As Jay notes, without a house full of things to do, it is easy to say, “Let me see what Erica is up to,” or “I owe Jeff a call.”

    Then again, I’m super extroverted.Report

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