If my grandfather could see me in my office today, he
would turn over in his grave. Life in
the business world has certainly changed since he put on his tie and went to
work every day. Gone are the days of the
gold watch and the huge retirement parties.
Gone are the rigid nine to five hours.
Instead, we do business globally on an international time-table and from
locations that vary from your living room at home to the business lounge of
your local airport. Heck, so few people
actually show up to work in our “home office” anymore that as I write this, I’m
sitting here in our corporate office with the lights off at 8:30am, wearing a
pair of board shorts, flip-flops, and a short sleeve casual shirt, with a bowl
of cereal next to me and the radio on.
We work when we have to these days. I’m scheduled to teach a class full of people
from India soon, and I’ll be doing it during the wee hours of the night because
it’s cheaper to have me stay up all night than it is to send me to India. We don’t think much about that kind of
commitment today because jobs are scarce and we’re willing to work the
hours. Toward that end however, we seem
to have lost the notion that our family time is (or should be) just as
We are quick to say “Yes” to travel, odd hours, time away
from home and family, and we’re incredibly industrious when it comes to problem
solving for remote meetings, video conferencing, etc. Just last week, I opened a Telnet session
with my Unix Box on my desk in Minneapolis to show a client in India a coded
example of some software I had, while I was working from a laptop in a Bread
Company restaurant in St. Louis. Are we
just as quick and creative when it comes to spending time or “linking back”
with your family?
For less than $20, you can buy a webcam from an
electronics store, and you can have it connected to your laptop, with a
microphone, in less than ten minutes. If
teenagers around the world are so bored that they broadcast videos of
themselves doing the most mundane things to the universe, it is not
unreasonable to think that you could broadcast your face back home for your
family to enjoy. Here are some ideas:
- Have breakfast with your kids before they leave for
school. Have mom setup a laptop back
home on the breakfast table and you can all eat together! I saw a man do this from the breakfast buffet
at a Marriott once; he sat with his headphones on, talking and eating an omelet
while his kids ate their cereal. How
cute is that?
- Read them a bedtime story from your “faraway location.”
- Help your kids with their homework and at the same time,
teach them how to upload or send files back and forth. This is a great time to teach kids about
computers, remote files, etc.
- Finally, spend some “alone time” with your spouse. If you’ve been gone for a few days, the
chances are good that your spouse needs an actual face to “vent” to or to talk
to, waive to, etc.
I’m sure my grandpa would rather look a man in the eye
and shake his hand when it comes to matters of business. All of this mouse-clicking with my feet up on
the desk and a sandwich in my hand would certainly give him pause… but at least
I could “still look him the eye!”
you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc,
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