First Business Trip

Here is a blog I started while on my first business trip. It is one of the largest conferences regarding the industry I work for and was held in NYC. Representatives from major industry leaders were all there. The point of this blog posting is to help guide those of us who are just starting out in the business world on etiquette and behavior on business trips. So, please read on and feel free to ask any questions. The advice is in italics.
On the Way…
Well, hello from NY, everyone! I decided to blog about my first business trip which I think is the “graduation” for the workforce initiating you as a true member of the team. And out of all the places I get to go, I'm in NYC! Wow. I drove right past the place where that crane crash occurred. Welcome to the city, right. So, here's what's happened so far:
- Unbeknownst to me my plane is delayed for 2 hours. Not too bad, but I am bored out of my mind at the airport. Fortunately, I have great people who keep me calm and talk to me on the phone, which makes the time zip by. (Well, sort of).

- I get the window seat and fly into NY at night!! I am staring out the window like an 8 year old on their first plane ride. Oh my gosh, no wonder it's the city that never sleeps, there's too many lights!
- It is a windy landing in NY and Thursday (the day I come home) is supposed to be windy again. This makes me a little nervous, but it’s ok.
- Once I arrive to the hotel I check in. The clerk asks me if I want the key to the mini bar and I say “yes” (hehe - for SNACKING purposes). This turns out to be a good thing (perfect for mid-day snacks or a quick breakfast).

Day 1
- The first morning – what do you do? Check your agenda. If there’s a breakfast listed, great, if not, and you don’t have any pre-arranged plans, call room service. Just be sure to keep ALL receipts. Should you call the other people you are with to see if they want to do breakfast? In my case I thought there was a breakfast, so no actions were taken.
- Ok, well now it's "Morning coffee" according to the conference’s agenda, so I think I'll go downstairs and see if I can find anyone I know.
- This is a moment when I wish I could see into the future, because if I could, I would have eaten breakfast. Silly me thought that “morning coffee” meant that there would be muffins or scones or something like that to nibble on. But there isn’t and I am starving throughout the entire first session. Eat a little something before the first session JUST IN CASE morning coffee truly means just coffee!
- The first session is interesting, lots of people making insider-industry jokes with a lot of jargon. It is very informative, which is more than I expected (I had expected to be a little bored). There is a lot and I mean A LOT of people coming in late and leaving early. I am quite appalled actually. To avoid this, please be on time. You never know who will be in those meetings and you never want to make a bad impression on anyone within your industry. Plus, you are a representative of your company, the same company that is paying for you to be there. So, look the part even if others aren’t. I feel like I am surrounded by unsupervised high schoolers attending a boring lecture. I wonder if most events like this conference experience the late and leave early people. Weird. Also, there is at least 1 person who did NOT turn off their cell phone and it keeps ringing during the talk. Seriously?! Business professionals who can’t turn off cell phones need to go back to college. Please double check your cell phones, pagers, black berries, red berries, grapefruits, whatever, before the speaker begins. It’s just common courtesy.
- After this speech there is a short break and then a second lecture. The second session is so PACKED with people that it is getting a little stuffy in the room. Again, lots of people coming in and out at will and while the guests are presenting. An observation that I make is that so many people are very willing to talk and are very approachable. This is great since I will be mostly solo on this trip.
- Next is lunch. My dilemma here, do I try to meet up with others from my company or fly solo? I run into people I know, so I tag along. Now, with major, industry-leading sponsors, one would think that we'd have a great, terrific, New York lunch. We have a boxed lunch. Yes, you read that right. Very disappointing. There is a silver lining and I realize that it is a great chance to meet others from my company who work at different departments and with different products.
- There's enough time to go back up to my room to check my email before the 3rd installment and then it's time for the third lecture of the day.
- Holy crap, this lecture will turn out to be the 2nd most boring lecture of my life. Not only can I not understand what the speakers are saying (because they are all foreign trying to speak English) but there's this annoying noise the microphone or something keeps making and I HATE repetitive noises. I leave this lecture early, go back to my room and check my email again. It's nice to see that there's nothing huge happening at work so far this week.
- Now, at 3:45 pm it's time for a lecture that everyone is invited to. This will turn out to be the MOST boring lecture of my life. Not only boring, but annoying. The man who sits next to me sits ON me while taking his seat. Then 3/4th of the way through the lecture he starts snoring. Yes, snoring. Oh and now his cell phone rings and is so loud it attracts the attention of the speakers on the stage. Dear god, why do people like this have professional jobs?! Do I need to get back on my soap box about common courtesy and cell phones? I think not ;)
- Anywho, now it's time for dinner. I do not have anyone to eat with. This is ok though, as I suspect, eating alone is the nature of business travel. So, if you don’t have any dinner plans, fear not. You are not a loser. It’s normal. You aren’t here to always have plans. I think that a lot of people are in the same situation. So I'll go downstairs and try the hotel restaurant (the fancy one) and then I'll swing by the hotel bar. I have to be a little social, how many times in my career will I be surrounded by hundreds of people who actually understand what I do for a living?!
- Ok, so I can’t find the fancy restaurant after 2 tries and 3 phone calls. So, next I try ordering food at the fancy bar, no food. Then I walk over to the other bar and it’s packed. I shake my head as a way of saying “of course.” So, guess what, ROOM SERVICE! Yeah! I say feel free to order room service. After an entire day of lectures and cramped spaces, wanting to chill out and eat in your room is totally ok.
Day 2
- Today I walked to Central Park all by myself. Yeah! It is very exciting being apart of the New York City vibe for a little while. You know, being very cautious as you cross the street, watching out for homeless people, things like that. Well I took some pictures and now I’m on my way back to the hotel for some more learning. Particularly if you are in a city you have never been in, try to see some sights. Maybe even leave a couple days early. Take in the sights, seriously!!!
- To start the lecturing part of the day off is a group lecture by an author. We all get copies of the book. But this is pretty boring and I wish I had stayed in Central Park a little longer.
- Next, they open up all the booths. Try and grab the free stuff if you can. However, be cautious. I found that most of the booths were other companies that were technically competition for my own company. So, I don’t really have anything to talk to them about.
- Next is the second lecture of the day which is just like the first and now lunch, which is exactly like day one. I run into my boss and we sit down with someone from our company but who works at a different location.
- Again, I have time to check email.
- I’m not sure if conferences other than the one I am attending have as much to do or if attendance is counted or what. But by weeks end, I have skipped a few lectures. But, when in doubt, always be on your best, most studious behavior. Lol You don’t want the higher ups regretting the fact that they let you go on this trip.
Some random things that I learned:
- If you get invited to a vendor sponsored event where there’s free booze, please be aware of the type of alcohol you are drinking and the amount. Even if the drinks are weak, you don’t want to have 6 in an hour and have everyone thinking you’re an alcoholic even if you’re not feeling a buzz.
- Wardrobe – wear whatever you would wear to work unless you know of a different dress code. For example, my company is business casual, so those are the types of clothes I packed. Once I got there, a lot of the attendees were in jeans. I certainly wasn’t the only one dressed in business clothes, but man I love my jeans, so it would have been nice to have been able to wear them. Also, I forgot sneakers and ended up cutting my feet with the flats I had worn on the plane while walking around the city. Over packing never killed anyone, so do as the boy scouts do and always be prepared.
This was a great trip, I learned a lot about my industry as well as the people I work for and with. I got to see parts of NYC as well as discover things about myself.
“Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra

So may the prayers, tranquilizers and JD be with you and see you next time.

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