Sunday, April 27, 2014

Work-Life Balance with International Travel

One of the more challenging aspects of most jobs is striking the right work-life balance. The Foreign Service is good at throwing a few curves in there for good measure. For instance, at the end of the workday last Wednesday, I had planned on meeting up with my dad on Friday evening and do various things around D.C. with the family throughout the weekend. Which we did, so that piece of the puzzle is still in place.

The tricky part was that just Thursday morning, I was told that I needed to be in Vienna at the beginning of next week, for most of the week. So I spent the rest of the next two days working through my travel arrangements, authorizations, clearances, and preparations to get everything approved before the authorities left for the weekend. The timing of the trip also forced me to reschedule a class at the Foreign Service Institute I'd been looking forward to about the various facets of protocol. The bright side is that May 1 is a national holiday in Austria, and falls right in the middle of my work week. I'm not sure how productive that day will ultimately be, but I'm sure I will work more than I should.

This trip, like most of the others, also means that Kacey has to switch into single-mom mode. Part of this requires her to miss out on one of her evening soccer games that I would normally have been baby-sitting the kids during. If you didn't know, it's kind of difficult to find a sitter to stay until after 11pm (the end of the second set of evening games) on a school night.

So, why do I have to go now? I've got a project that is inside of a leased property where the landlord is having his contractor doing some structural work before we move in to do our own work. Having two contractors on the same site at the same time is never a good idea, as both will blame the other for causing delays...which costs money. So while construction management usually doesn't get involved in lease negotiations, I'm involved now to coordinate the landlord's schedule with my project's schedule. It's basically going to turn into an un-fun game of "I go, you go, I go, you totally should have been finished by now, I can't work until you get your stuff done..."

Oh, and if you're interested, the State Department does occasionally sell its old properties in case you were in the market for an embassy.
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