Business Travel at its Worst – by Sean O’Neil

As I type this I’m en route back from a business trip in Florida. I was gone for just for an overnight, but it feels like a week. I just want to get home, see my beautiful family, and collapse into my own bed.

The problem is that I’m booked on what appears to be the longest-ever commercial flight from Tampa to New York. The pilot seems infatuated with the cruising altitude, as he has no apparent intent to descend…ever. I’ve checked the flight map on the Jet Blue television screen embedded in the seat in front of me no fewer than 400 times, and we appear to be stuck. South Carolina isn’t that big, and our little airplane avatar has been stalled over this crappy little state for the past hour.

To make matters worse, I had an awful night sleep last night. To compensate for my sleepiness and get me thru a day of dreadfully aimless, agenda-free meetings, I’ve been coffee loading throughout. As a result, I’ve been perspiring nonstop, my left leg is twitching involuntarily, and my eyeballs are shaking back and forth. Is this what a coke addict feels like?

To make matters worse still, I’m sitting in a middle seat in a row in the middle of the plane. Thank God the women on either side of me are relatively small and not altogether un-cute. But my heavy caffeine doses appear to be causing a claustrophobic/hyper-ventilation episode not experienced since my first MRI exam 6 years ago.

And, finally, for the past 25 minutes, the air vent above my head is stuck in the open position, and has been blowing hair-drier-hot air directly onto me, causing my perspiration to reach alarming levels. What the f–k?

You know those days that feel like they will truly never end? The ones in which everything seems to be piling on top of all the awful shit that just happened moments before? That’s the pain I’m in right now. I want to scream out loud. This might be the closest I’ve ever been to a panic attack.

Writing this is just a way to keep my already loose marbles from bursting out of my head. Oh wait…the pilot just announced that we’ve begun our initial descent. (Really, all the way from South Carolina?)…phew!…Ok, gitty to put my tray table up and my seat in the upright position…there’s a ray of hope!

…twenty minutes later we’re on the ground…ten minutes later I’m walking off the plane. My breathing is normal, my perspiration has subsided, and my eyeballs are no longer shaking….There’s my car in the lot. It’s late at night, so no traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway or the Whitestone Bridge…my house is dark and peaceful, and the only sound is that of my people sleeping soundly…I undress, brush my teeth, slip into bed, close my eyes, and smile.

I feel comfortable for the first time in several hours. My situation is exponentially and almost suddenly pleasant.

I’m grateful I survived the business trip to and from Hell. Tomorrow will be better.

Just wish that occurred to me while I was stalled over South Carolina. I’ve always loved that cute little state.

 

About Sean O’Neil

Sean O’Neil is a workplace and team dynamics expert. He is also Principal and CEO of Bare Knuckle People Management (www.bareknucklepeoplemanagement.com), a sales and management training firm with clients that include the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, News Corporation, First Data, ADP, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Oakland Raiders. Sean and John Kulisek co-authored Bare Knuckle People Management: Creating Success with the Team You Have – Winners, Losers, Misfits and All, which was published in May 2011. Sean has contributed to or been featured in, among others, The New York Times, the Wall Street JournalSelling Power MagazineCNBC.comLeadership Excellence MagazineTraining MagazineThe Dallas Morning News, the Sports Business Journal, and Incentive Magazine. Sean appears regularly on radio and television programs, including Fox Business Network and Imus in the Morning, mostly about workplace communications and management issues. Sean is a nationally-recognized speaker on everything concerning people and the way they interact with each other. He can also frequently be seen pacing the sidelines of a youth team he’s coaching.

 

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