On Thursday I spent the day in Harlem. I had some work to do for a client so I was on-site. It was my first visit to NYC this year and it was long over-due. Granted it was only for the day so I didn't bother contacting any of my friends ahead of time.
I took the 6:00 a.m. Acela Express from Union Station to Penn Station. Three short hours later I was riding in rush hour traffic, breathing in the hectic pace of the Big Apple.
I sat through meetings, met with different project managers, listened to paradigm shifts and learned all about their capacity building, worked out the details for a press conference and boarded a train for home at 7:00 p.m.
Then, on Saturday, I got a call. A problem. I had to travel to NYC... they needed me onsite again. On Sunday.
So I boarded the 6:00 a.m. train, did what I could on-site (which I could have done from home), and was back in DC by 10:00 p.m.
On Monday, the client determined that I absolutely, positively needed to be on-site again for the one hour press event the next day (today). Mind you, when I negotiated the contract, I had recommended that they might want to consider just having me in New York the entire week prior to their announcement.
So sure enough.... I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:00 AM to catch the 5:00 AM Acela to NYC. When I arrived on-site at 8:30 no one was there. So I wandered around a bit, found a diner that sold a decent cup of coffee, returned to the headquarters to learn that nothing was done. I scrambled around for three hours - photocopying materials, printing bios, and throwing press kits together.
Finally (FINALLY) the event took place and I boarded the 5:00 p.m. train back to DC.
This is the perfect example of poor planning.
The client spent $1000 on train tickets when they could have flown me into the city, put me up in a hotel for four or five nights, and had me on-site the entire time. We could have avoided the last minute panic attacks and hustle & bustle.
And now I'm stressed. The laundry room in my apartment building has been full all night. SO now I'll be waking up at 6:00 a.m. to do three loads of laundry and pack and rush to the airport.
I need time to mentally prepare to deal with the relatives. Instead, I barely know what day it is and cannot believe Thanksgiving is in 48 hours. How did this happen? I thought I had at least another week to brace myself for five days of family fun.
Anyway - today's lesson is -- when trying to scrimp and save, try to look at the big picture and listen carefully to the advice provided by your consultant. She's really not trying to scam a free ttrip out of you, but thinking of her own sanity and your overall budget.