Recently, I was given the opportunity to go on a business trip for my employer. The event required a technical person for the upcoming work and this was supposed to be training and exposure. I had done business trips in the past, but this gave me a whole different perspective on “the life”.
Another aspect of this meeting was that the host of the event wanted to show off their brand new building. I didn’t really give it much thought. An office building is like any other, right? Nope. And that all played into the discomfort I felt. So let’s start at the beginning.
When I was told about the trip, I was also told that the company travel coordinator would handle everything. So, right off the bat, I’m a little out of my comfort zone. You know, if I was tasked to go somewhere, I would be looking for the cheapest flight anywhere. Well, that’s not how business travel works. I end up on a top-tier airline in what I assume is a decent seat. As you know, you don’t get decent seats for cheap. They cost extra. I don’t know, my airfare was around $500. That’s more than I would be willing to spend. And also, there’s six of us going. Yeah, six.
So we all get to the destination and we Uber to the hotel. I’m not really a fan of Uber, but that’s for another post, and it’s not my decision to make anyway. And the hotel is a Staybridge Suites hotel. Everyone gets a suite! Now, I don’t expect us to bunk together, but I don’t need lodgings this fancy. No way. It’s our first night and we all go out to dinner. Company expense, of course. Steakhouse? Sure. Longhorn? Outback? Fuck, no. It’s not our money, let’s go to Perry’s. You can’t eat there for less than $60/plate. And of course, everyone drinks. It was easily a $600 bill, I’m certain of it.
Day one at our host’s new office building. This is not an office building, it is a goddamn resort. It has a cafeteria, an exercise room, a balcony garden, another café with barista on the upper floor, a game room, and technology that would make most humans gawk in amazement. Maybe it’s the new modern standard for a national company, but like Perry’s, it’s way out of my league.
The conference goes all day. We get catered lunch and we get a tour of the building. They’re quite proud of it. At the conclusion of the tour, there is a social gathering with beer and wine and snacks too fancy and weird for me to even eat. I’m watching all these people chatting and mingling, and the cute girls in the short skirts sitting on the bar counter with their wine, and I’m wondering, this is business? In what world is this business? This one, apparently.
Our group got dinner reservations for Del Friscos, another $60/plate steakhouse. I man up and say, fuck all y’all, I’m staying in my room (no, my fucking SUITE) and ordering pizza. It was a great pizza and only put the company out $25. I was ordered to save the receipt for reimbursement. It would have been fine, guys. You know, you pay me pretty well already.
My point of this rant, which I’ve done before, is that there is this executive life that is not available to normal folk. I’m kind of in it, right on the cusp, but I don’t agree with it. I don’t like it. It’s living in a fantasy, where you get to feel like you’re super rich, but you’re not. And you only get to act and feel that way because of your employer. The employer that is putting out gobs of money disproportionately for a select few, when it could be spent on others in the company who are nowhere near that sort of lifestyle. And who would appreciate it more?