Out Of the Air

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Image taken from Rottentomatoes.com

You have to see it.  Have to.


The advice is about the movie “Up in the Air,” any everyone who works for a consulting firm, or has ever worked for a consulting firm, has heard that sentence by now.  As a former Accenture Partner, I heard, “You have to see it” and I saw it.  The movie is good and I see why the road warrior consultant can identify with it.

The truth is that real life on the road is worse than depicted in the movie.  Navigating the airports and security is worse than depicted in the movie.  First class is not likely.  Dealing with hotels is worse than depicted in the movie.  Maybe looking like George Clooney is the secret.   Dealing with weather problems is the big variable that makes life on the road miserable.  And, sometimes, dealing with clients is worse than the movie shows.

Night life when on the road may not start until 10PM because that’s how long you spend working.  So there is no night life because you are too tired.  Dinner is likely to be a bad room service meal eaten in front of a television.

Since the life is not a good one, and everyone knows it when in the middle of it, the main reward is food.  So to compound the problems, life on the road usually means gaining weight which makes you feel more miserable.  The best part of life on the road is returning home.

The movie should be required viewing of anyone thinking of going into a career that requires a lot of travel.  The simple rules that the movie points out are worth repeating:

  • Never check a bag.
  • Always wear loafers though security and always get behind others wearing loafers

Contrary to the movie premise, the one with the most frequent flyer miles does not win.  Being in the 1K Club at United is not a good thing.  If the sound of a zipper closing on a suitcase makes your children cry, you are flying too much.

Now, about the sex thing in the movie.  I once had a senior executive tell me, “What happens on the road, stays on the road.”  Maybe it happens and I sort of heard about it from time to time, but it sure isn’t the life of any consultants I know.


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