As her voice grew louder, and her tone more stern, the gate agent got my attention. I was sitting in a freshly emptied airport departure lounge while on layover, listening to her deal with a travel-challenged passenger.
"This isn't your flight. You're two hours early. Come back later," she exasperated.
The passenger said something I couldn't hear, and the gate agent said, loudly, "No, you're in a different time zone now. Come back later."
I turned, and saw the passenger pick up her bag and leave. So I caught the agent's attention and said, "Can you tell me what year it is?"
Anger came to her face. She stepped out from behind the counter, walked rapidly towards me and as her grimace turned to a smile, she playfully slapped my shoulder.
"Gotcha," I said.
"You did! But it's my first day back from vacation…"
Fun is very important, especially at airports. When we travel for work, feelings of loneliness can make trips burdensome. Finding fun, amusement, or connection can help. Here are some ideas.Fun is very important,
especially at airports
- Do something unusual
- Whether it's an architecture tour or a nap, planning ahead helps. But sometimes only the locals know the real gems. Get suggestions from hotel staff — and not just the concierge.
- Bring portable activities
- Many bring reading, but consider alternatives: puzzle books, a harmonica, knitting, even your bills or taxes.
- Find group activities
- Perhaps an organization you belong to has a chapter at your destination. Attend a meeting. Check out houses of worship — they might have a social event.
- Friends and colleagues
- Contact people you know who live near your destination, or who might be there when you are. Find out if they know anyone else there. Expand your network and have fun doing it.
- Let go of the home office
- Learn how not to fret about what's happening back there. Delegate authority — really. Limit contact with the people in charge while you're away.
- Stay in touch with loved ones
- Call home often. Tell them you miss them and feel the love. If you're away for a while, consider a videoconference with your family. Use the company conference facility or a public facility such as an incubator.
- Live well
- To stay in top condition, treat yourself right. Don't skimp on lodgings, especially if you're away for a while. Find out in advance about exercise facilities.
- Eat right for you
- Restaurants tend to offer food that's memorable, which means it's often very different from your normal fare. Instead, keep to your usual diet as much as possible.
- Bring small things from home
- Bring your slippers or a favorite T-shirt for relaxing. Read your hometown paper or listen to hometown radio on line.
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More articles on Emotions at Work:
- The Fundamental Attribution Error
- When we try to understand the behavior of others, we often make a particularly human mistake. We tend
to attribute too much to character and disposition and too little to situation and context. When we
seek a better balance, we can adopt a more accepting view of events around us.
- The Uses of Empathy
- Even though empathy skills are somewhat undervalued in the workplace context, we do use them, for good
and for ill. What is empathy? How is it relevant at work?
- Peek-a-Boo and Leadership
- Great leaders know what to say, what not to say, and when to say or not say it, sometimes with stunning
effect. Consistently effective leadership requires superior empathy skills. Here are some things to
do to improve your empathy skills.
- Unintended Consequences
- Sometimes, when we solve problems, the solutions create new problems that can be worse than the problems
we solve. Why does this happen? How can we limit this effect?
- First Aid for Wounded Conversations
- Groups that meet regularly sometimes develop patterns of tense conversations that become obstacles to
forward progress. Here are some ideas for releasing the tension.
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming April 25: Narcissistic Behavior at Work: VI
- Narcissistic behavior at work distorts decisions, disrupts relationships, and generates toxic conflict. These consequences limit the ability of the organization to achieve its goals. In this part of our series we examine the effects of exploiting others for personal ends. Available here and by RSS on April 25.
- And on May 2: Narcissistic Behavior at Work: VII
- Narcissistic behavior at work prevents trusting relationships from developing. It also disrupts existing relationships, and generates toxic conflict. One class of behaviors that's especially threatening to relationships is disregard for the feelings of others. In this part of our series we examine the effects of that disregard. Available here and by RSS on May 2.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
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