High flyer, low expectations
It’s fair to say, this year has seen the biggest transition of my working life, in many ways for the better and in others for the worse. I’ve been ‘promoted’ (job titles and what not were never my bag) twice in this period and have been given full reign to define what my professional future is. These options have been great for me and Alan, we’re living the young dream, living in a great flat, earning good money and going on great holidays (we’re just about to head to San Francisco for Easter :-)). For all of this, I am grateful, I thank my lucky stars and God that I have had the choices I have had. But I have also learned some truly profound lessons.
I have cried for myself and over others more in the last year than ever before. With my increased responsibilities have come an increase in my emotional fragility. My decisions have an impact on other people. The buck stops with me, although there are directors above me, I have no real ‘boss’ who can make the hard decisions. I have to face those uncomfortable conversations with the client, I have to be friend and pushy boss to my colleagues and until I got here, I didn’t realise how lonely it can be for those who are in positions of responsibility. It all comes with the territory, you learn to adjust and I’m learning, it’s been a steep learning curve but I’m on it, I’m climbing and I’m coping.
What I am not coping with however is the very unglamorous life of the frequent work flyer. When you have to fly out once, twice a week almost every week, when you spend up to a third of every week in a hotel which is not as comfortable as your own home, when you have to get used to eating poorly when you’re in a hotel and when you can never wear what you want cos your destination has 2 foot of snow for 6 months of the year…you won’t find a single piece of glamour anywhere. Sometimes I try to go up and back in the same day, but then I accept a 16 hour day with a 4am start, crazy early if you need to still be creative at 2pm.
Did I mention I hate airports? Yeah, I hate them. As a frequent flyer my whole life I thought I’d been through everything an airport had to throw at me, but having had half my cosmetics confiscated when I don’t check in my bag and having idiot conversations with silly border staff, I hate them even more! I hardly have luggage worth checking in, but let me give you some advice, don’t bother putting your nice creams in those Superdrug travel containers…border staff say if they can’t see the content label, they are confiscating!
Now let me give you some insight into the hotel thing. Unless you work for glamorous super budget consultancies like Galweather & Stern, reality is a double bed, two foot of room around the bed and BBC World News. Most of the time they climate control all the rooms meaning that poor little Nigerian girls like me have to ask for portable heaters to get to sleep. I’ve also eaten in a lot of hotels and (supposedly) fancy restaurants, it loses it’s shine. Sometimes a girl just wants chicken and rice and moose stew just doesn’t cut it (specially when it has none of the seasoning I associate with a hearty stew!).
There is no end to this in the short-term either, I’m going to be doing this for a while. I am naturally looking on the bright side, my frequent flyer miles and status are looking healthy, I’m collecting loyalty points on every hotel I stay in, I’m collecting points on all my work credit cards and expenses (thank you Amex) and by hook or by crook, one day someone will take pity on me and upgrade my flight and/or hotel to something fitting a Nigerian princess as myself! lol!
Jokes aside, I appreciate that my moaning is coming from a position of privilidge. There are many without jobs, without the options I have and without the opportunities to get around as I do. No matter what I will never get complacent, I’ve worked hard to get here, but I need to work hard to stay here and give back wherever I can…