First in-person business meeting since pre-pandemic

So, as we’ve transitioned from being in a pandemic to being in an endemic, work travel is now considered acceptable and encouraged. Not all customers are accepting visitors, though, so it varies depending on the customer we’re working with. However, a colleague and I were asked to come onsite to visit a customer of ours in Bridgewater, New Jersey, today, and so we decided to go. My colleague only lives about a 20 minute drive away, but I had to get there via New Jersey Transit, which took me over an hour, not including the travel time to get to Penn Station. That commute took longer than expected due to a train delay, though. And then coming back, I missed the train I wanted to get on because my meeting ran long, and so I had to take a train that had a longer transfer time at Newark Penn Station. So all in all, I spent almost 3.5 hours traveling for a meeting that lasted about 90 minutes. While I was on NJ Transit this late afternoon coming back into the city, I was thinking about exactly how ridiculous this was. That commute time doesn’t even factor in the amount of time I spent this morning getting ready and dressed, or the time it took me to look up train schedules and figure out the best way to get there. In addition, I had to wake up earlier and pump earlier, then pump right before I left to go. My breasts don’t care that I have to travel for work; they still need to be emptied. And of course, I came home with my breasts uncomfortable and full of milk.

It’s true: in-person meetings cannot be replaced by virtual meetings. But they certainly take a LOT more preparation and leg work to do, and as a pumping mom and someone who has gotten used to working from home the last 2.5 years, this trip, though relatively short with no overnight stay, was still taxing. I just could not imagine doing this type of work travel regularly; I would be so miserable.

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