When you’re searching for employment your senior year of college, jobs that shill cross-country travel can quickly catch attention. The idea of jet-setting across the country for work and rejecting the perceived monotony of office life was highly attractive. Flying first class, per diems, and enjoying the swanky clubs for frequent flyers can seem like no-brainers to 21-year-old millennials who have been living off of coffee, ramen, and cheap beer for their college careers.
But as I and my other frequent work travelers quickly discovered, the glamor is quick to fade. Grueling travel schedules that required Monday-Thursday out of town work impact every part of your life, professional and personal, and by the conclusion of my second year of near non-stop travel, I was ready for a change. When I looked in the mirror in the restroom as I waited out yet another 3-hour delay, I knew the time had come to turn in my frequent flyers card. Besides, the bags under my eyes were so heavy I fully expected the gate attendant to ask me to check them prior to boarding.
40 hours a week in one place was something to which I had been conditioned to fear. Wasn’t I the millennial worker, who simply cannot be bothered to conform to a classic work environment? Would I prove every old business writer right that my millennial mindset would short circuit and I would end up clambering for freedom from cubicle hell within a week?
A few months in, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the friendly pastures of the cubicle farm. There have certainly been some adjustments that took some getting used to and some real benefits that I’ve enjoyed, like being able to communicate with my boss more than once a month via a 15-minute phone call. What I did not consider when I made this transition was how my attitude towards and relationship with my working life would change.
In future posts I’ll be discussing how this change has reflected itself within my work, including how my relationship and communication with my managers at Digineer has changed, what it means to have one’s “own” space in a work environment, and the differences between consulting for multiple clients at a time and devoting the entirety of your focus to one.
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