This is a long one, so buckle up.
Monday morning. 4AM. Trains to the airport aren’t running, so I have to wake up at 4AM, catch a bus, and catch a plane at 7AM so I can be at a seminar in Cologne by 10PM. I’m traveling with two coworkers - let’s call them Max and Leo. Leo is there for the seminar, like me. Max is doing other work at the same location.
Let’s start by mentioning a few things I don’t handle well:
[li]Sleeping poorly[/li][li]Missing meals[/li][li]Having my time wasted by others[/li][li]Feeling out of control of what’s happening to me[/li][/ul]
This will matter shortly.
So we get to the Cologne airport, and we’re in a big hurry to get to the seminar on time. Max is driving, and he’s already made it clear that he was annoyed that me and Leo checked bags for a 4-day trip. For some reason. So we get our bags. He gets breakfast for himself, as I learn later. We have to hustle out of the airport, so there’s no time for me to, say, get breakfast. That kinda sucks, but okay, it happens. We get to the seminar, and I’m already on low blood sugar, tired, and cranky. We start the seminar, and first impressions are pretty weak. The software seems a hell of a lot worse than what we’re already using. The actual contents of the seminar really aren’t particularly important, other than that I struggled with the software not working.
So okay, seminar is over, we head off to find Max. He needs a little while longer. How much longer? He doesn’t say. We end up waiting an hour, then finding someone else who is willing to go out of their way to drive us back to the hotel. Then we wait another hour, because Max was taking us out to dinner. Then, he shows up at the hotel, checks in, and promptly falls asleep. Half an hour later, we call him, and by this point I am really hungry, exhausted, and starting to get sick of waiting on this inconsiderate fucker. But okay, we get food, and my mood almost stabilizes a little.
The next day, Max demands we leave early, because “he’s got things to do”. So okay, let’s be there half an hour before we need to be there, so that me and Leo can do… fucking nothing. The seminar is dull. On the way home, it’s the same story, except that the guy who took us home isn’t there. Max needs another hour or two to work on his shit - and this time, he needs Leo as well, and I can’t drive. At this point, I’m in a miserable mood, so I decide, “fuck it, it’s only 6km, I’ll just walk back to the hotel”. Which I did. Google maps is bad at telling what’s a “path” and what’s “half a mile of knocked-down trees and blackberry brambles”. Once I get there, they immediately drag me out to dinner with coworkers, which Max tells me will be on the company dime. It wasn’t. We end up staying out really late, and the subjects of conversation are exactly “work” and “cars”. I don’t drive and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about cars. On the way home, Max is still fucking talking about work. I am so out of it, and so sick of devoting all of my goddamn mental energy to my job that I just ignore him.
So the next day, the same shit happens again. Again, we leave early. Again, the seminar is dull, and again it is over hours before the person responsible for driving (who happens to be 20 years me or Leo’s senior) is ready to go. So again, we’re just going to wait. For hours. Fuck that noise - I grab a taxi back to the hotel. I decompress a bit, and of course, there’s another company dinner. Which, again, the company is not paying for. And again, the only subjects are “cars” and “work”. I try to get involved and steer the conversation towards anything I can relate to whatsoever that isn’t work. I feel ill, and anxious, and socially alienated. I bow out and leave, again, walking home about 5km over rough ground. Again, google is bad at figuring out what is a path, and what involves jumping over a broken cattle fence.
The next morning Max reads me the fucking riot act over leaving, because that’s impolite. The seminar finishes early, so we have 3 hours to get from the location to the airport. An hour’s drive, and then two hours to go through security. Nope! Max wants to keep working late. So he cuts it as close as possible, despite my objections. I’m freaking out at this point, and he wasted an hour and a half of my time. I am so done. We drive an hour - it is now 40 minutes before boarding - and Max decides he really wants to stop to pick up something from the corner store. I was freaking out at this point, basically a walking panic attack. My anxiety was firing on all cylinders.
We end up being barely on time for the flight, which ended up being delayed. By the time I was home it was 9PM. I barely had any decompression time for the entire damn trip. I was completely destroyed.
And that was my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad work trip.