Picture this: your boss calls you into his office on a Friday morning and tells you that he’s heading to the West Coast next week on a business trip for the entire week. On the outside, you nod, smile, and keep it professional, but on the inside, you’re doing the motherfucking Macarena because holy crap–you’re getting a freaking week away from your boss! You put together your boss’s itinerary at a speed at which you haven’t worked since your first month on the job, but it’s worth it. Your boss is going away! That’s almost like a week of paid vacation, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong. One hundred percent wrong. You should wish that your boss was in the office for the week, looking over your shoulder, second-guessing everything you do, and making snide, condescending comments every time you turn in a deliverable. Here’s why:
If your boss is on the West Coast and you’re on Eastern Standard Time, that means you better add an extra three hours to your daily schedule. But you can’t sleep in, oh no. You have to get up with the rest of the world (in your time zone) and get into the office like usual, because you’ve still got stuff to do, but you’re on call for at LEAST an extra three hours. Actually, scratch that, you’re pretty much on call 24/7, so either reload your Starbucks card with your week’s salary or pray for the sweet, sweet release of death.
Everything Is Your Fault
The flight got delayed? There wasn’t a car waiting to pick up your boss from the airport? His hotel room isn’t close enough to the elevator? Rental car line at Hertz is too long? All of that is your fault. Completely, 100 percent your fault. Even though you have no power or control over the situation and you’re a solid 3,000 miles from the site of the business trip, it’s all your fault. But rest easy, because none of these things are fireable offenses. No, they’re basically scapegoats so your boss can curse your name the entire time he’s away, because he really didn’t want to go on this trip. But that’s your fault too, just so you’re aware.
Last Minute Changes
Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re in the TV show “24” or you’re part of the “Matrix” movie trilogy? Of course you have. But you’d rather be Jack Bauer or Neo, obviously. Well, in this scenario, your boss is Jack Bauer and you’re Chloe O’Brian; you’re the Tank to his Neo. When that phone rings, you’re expected to drop everything you’re doing and listen carefully, because circumstances have changed and it’s life or death. He missed his flight and it’s up to you to get him on the next one, and you’ve got to do it with no change fees or penalties, miraculously. Or you’ve got to get him into the hottest restaurant in the city he’s in with a reservation for a table of 12 at 7:30. It couldn’t JUST be a table for an awkward number or prime dinner time, it’s both, and you’ve got about 25 minutes to get the reservation because they’re already on their way.
Advanced technology, like smartphones that allow for instantaneous global communication and information recall may seem like a utopian dream, but for you, it’s a fucking nightmare. There’s nowhere to hide from your boss on a business trip. If you don’t answer the office phone, he’ll email you. If you don’t answer email, he’ll text you. If you don’t text back, he’ll call. If you put the call to voicemail, he’ll tweet you, Facebook chat you, LinkedIn message you, call your mom, or whatever it takes. He will get in touch with you. You’ll want to smash your phone into a million fucking pieces and flush it down the toilet, but you can’t, because, well, you’re poor. You need that phone for Tinder and 2048.
It’s A Thankless Job
Your boss will call and text you at all hours of the day or night to make sure things are going well. You’ll send him text reminders and email messages and countless, ever-changing itineraries. You’ll also forward him phone messages, connect him to calls, ensure he’s at the right destination, and you’ll make extensive changes on the fly, by the seat of your pants, on your phone, because God forbid something needs to be done while you’re not in the office or in front of your computer. And you’ll mess things up, you’re human. So is your boss. Mistakes are bound to happen, but for the most part, you’ll get it right. But the one thing that that your boss (probably) will not, and I repeat, will NOT do, is say “thank you.” A simple “thank you” for all the stuff he’s put you through. Granted, this is your job, and he’s busy and can’t coddle you–you’re better than that. But he will have no idea how much effort it was for you to put this whole trip together and then take the time to make sure that everything went off without a hitch. He probably will never know how much work it entailed, and he doesn’t care.
So next time your boss gets invited on a business trip, you’d better pray that he can’t go and hope with all your heart that he sends you instead. Yes, he’ll bother you about the same shit in reverse, but you’ll be traveling and eating on the company dime. At least that’s something.