Sunday, April 23, 2017

Some reflections when your car is your office

I'm currently following some of our service technicians on the road to accompany them during the go-live of a project. So my car or their van is temporary my office these days.

This made me realize the following things:


  • Hungry

The first days I felt constantly hungry. I realized how spoiled we are in our office with the constant availability of plates with an assortment of freshly cut fruits, dried fruits and nuts. I usually go and help myself once in the morning and once in the afternoon. All of a sudden I was driving around, spent time in people's homes...and I was hungry without snacks nearby.

As a response, I shopped for a lot of snacks and stacked my car with cookies, drinks etc in a gas station.  Not quite the sustainable approach in the long run either. But after a few weeks I started feeling slightly less the need to snack in between. Yet it is very remarkable that almost all technicians have eaten their lunch sandwiches while driving before it is noon.

  • Balance coffee/ toilets

Similarly as being hungry, I also felt tired.   Now that I don't have a constant supply of coffee available (and I still have very interrupted nights), fatigue was much much harder.  On top of that, the fact of driving constantly made me more tired, especially if I had been in heavy traffic.

But when I was driving around with my thermos cup, I drank too much too soon which gave me an upset stomac and a very irritated bladder. And the latter is truly something to avoid when being on the road and on construction sites and in other people's homes constantly.

  • Awareness of weather
You are very much aware of the weather when being on the road, in contrast of doing office work. In the latter, you leave sometimes the office building, completely surprised that it very sunny or pouring rain or ...

Not so much when you are driving around and are working in people's houses with the window open.
  • Nice weather
It's fun to be on the road when it's beautiful sunny weather. Everything looks so happy and attractive. A good radio and some sun can make me quite happy behind the wheel, as long as I don't have traffic jams. I'm just chilling a bit, enjoying the landscapes.

Yet I realize that it is quite the opposite on rainy days.  Then it becomes quite stressful. There's nothing so dreadful as to drive for a long time in the rain with bad visibility and potentially slippery roads.

  • Memories

Driving around the country is often a trip down the memory lane.
Constantly I think "Oh, I went on a camp here nearby when I was a child." "I had a pen pal in this town as a teenager." "Relative x lives really close-by from here."  "Oh this tv-programme was recorded here." "Aaaaah this is the place where this or that happened" "Oh that's this zoo that is in some ads, I didn't know it was here".

  • Discipline

It would cost me discipline to have a job on the road on my own.  I'd be tempted to quickly stop at a bakery to buy some bread or so. But as I claimed above, it is equally tempting to quickly stop for 5 minutes at some acquaintances that you "drive by" just to say hi because you haven't seen them in ages.  Or when you pass through a cute little village shining in the sun, I'd love to stop at a terrace and have a slow lunch there.

I suppose it wouldn't be bad to do such a thing if planning allows, but obviously it needs to be balanced and work planning needs to be respected and the priority.
  • Loniless
As I am accompanying a technician, I'm not alone. Yet I believe I'd feel lonely as a technician or representative on the road as a regular job. You get to meet a lot of people constantly but they are strangers.  I like to be amidst people that I know well.

  • Feeling you accomplish less 

Because you lose a lot of time getting from place A to B, I have the feeling I have a very limited work time. So at the end of the day I have the feeling I have not accomplished a lot. That is a very strange sensation, probably due to the fact that I'm used to sit 8 hours behind my computer.



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