How many times have I heard….you’re traveling where? And for work?! Those that participate in standards development work are sometimes subject to more than what meets the eye relative to travel schedules and meeting venues. Those that regularly participate in IEC work are at times especially vulnerable to inaccurate perceptions of their activity.
To illustrate more clearly, please complete the following sentence by selecting the most appropriate from the itemized list below.
“Active engagement with IEC Committee work is a wonderful opportunity to_____________”.
- Spend 8 hours sitting in windowless meeting rooms for several days at a time, discussing/arguing and trying to communicate basic national technical issues with people whose native tongue is generally something other than English. (Once I sat between two of humanities most prolific garlic eating, non-English speaking individuals on a packed red eye flight).
- Process through airport security systems of multiple nations, several times within a short duration.
- Experience sleep deprivation because of multiple and sometimes drastic changes in time zones and or differing climates.
- Arrive directly from combination airline… train….and taxi to a scheduled meeting due to flight delays/cancellations, sans food, sleep, change of clothes or shower.
- Become hospitalized in a foreign country, perhaps in a third world nation….. (I know of an individual who spent several weeks in a foreign hospital, before being well enough to be transported home). [Becoming ill can range from common digestive issues usually from the effects of consuming who knows what , to more serious illnesses or complications brought about by flying coach class in close proximity to hundreds of other people for hours on end, in cramped quarters].
- Routinely travel on weekends and holidays in order to reduce transportation costs or out of office time.
- Miss flight connections or experience flight cancellations due to extreme weather conditions, security threats, wars or even volcanoes, resulting in airport sleepovers.
- Be pick pocketed of wallet, laptop or passport (sometimes all 3) while traversing in unfamiliar airports, rail stations or residing in substandard hotels.
- Submit more complicated expense reports, necessitated through the use of multiple currencies of differing exchange rates.
While the real objective and intent of all participants in completion of the above sentence would be ….to progress the U.S. perspective to the fullest extent possible in pursuit of international technical harmonization, in reality, all the above have been experienced at one time or another by NEMA Staff or its membership. Those that do or have traveled frequently in support of US IEC participation or even CANENA and sometimes national committee work, should be commended for their efforts, because travel for meetings sake is not nearly as glamorous as it sometimes appears to be.