Your First Business Trips Dos and Donts

By: Charles Cater

So you are fresh out of college and have landed that first bigtime corporate job. Your employer has put you through your paces and you are ready to go out and represent your company on the road. This is new and exciting, it's like a standard college road trip right? Wrong you are now on the company payroll and certain things are expected to happen and expected to not happen.

So you show up at the airport in your flops and shorts ready for the flight out of town to that new and exciting destination. You look around at your fellow co-worker and he is in slacks and a dress shirt on a Saturday. What is this? Does he not understand the term road-trip?

This is your first don't for your trip. Don't show up in college casual. You are representing the company that is buying your meals; from the time that you step into the local airport until the time you arrive back at the airport on your return trip. You never know where you might meet a client or company VP. Don't get caught in the airport talking to your local VP in a baseball cap and holey jeans. While it leaves an impression, this is not the impression that you want to make.

So you didn't fall on the first grenade and showed up at the airport business casual, great for you.

You check your bags through to your destination and get ready to go to the terminal. You look at your co-worker and again he is acting strangely. Carrying a bag that is just the right size for the overhead or underseat storage. What is the matter with this guy you wonder? Is he going to slow down our airport dash by lugging around his compact but heavy bag? Sure enough here he comes bag in tow. You wonder what exactly is this guy thinking.

This is your second don't. Do everything you can to pack in a single bag that you can carry onto the plane. Don't get caught losing your package in the airline packaging. Your co-worker has learned and you will quickly. Airlines cannot be trusted to keep up with your bags and will lose them just as likely as they are to deliver them.

Alright you managed to avoid pitfalls one and two above, you are a star and heading quickly up in the company. You arrive at your destination on a Saturday and are ready to start the party. Your co-worker bums you out a bit by taking a nap and telling you he will meet you at the front lobby later in the day for dinner. Do take this time to study up on what you will be doing over the next several days.

So off to dinner and cocktails. As the bright young college grad you are fully capable of consuming large quantities of Alcohol and are just dying to demonstrate this to your coleague. Here is your third don't. Do not pound back the alcohol and become unable to function the next day. You are on the company tab and must be able to function at your highest level for the whole trip. At any moment you could be asked to step-up and fill in for your co-worker.

So you did not demonstrate your drinking capabilities at dinner and have succedded in getting to the first customer visit. Do write a thank you to any customers or vendors that you visit on your trip. Take the time at night in your hotel to perform this seemingly small and trivial task. It will benefit you on later trips back to the area and in your continued career path.

So in short, when you are on a company trip, you must act as you would on a family trip. Dress for success, pack lightly, avoid overindulging, and write your thank you notes nightly. If you follow these very simple travel plans you should succeed in your business trip.

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