Tempted to bring your kids along on your next business trip? You might want to resist.
At the very least, don’t lie and tell them it’s a family vacation. Because unless you plan carefully, their expectations will probably be higher than you can deliver.
Mixing business and pleasure usually starts with the best of intentions: Your business convention, meeting or negotiation is being held at a well-known family destination or famous historic city. You’re near a bucket-list attraction, like Disneyworld or the Grand Canyon, and you say to yourself, “How could I not bring the whole family?”
We know what that’s like. Maybe too well, because we travel with our family for business. It’s a road punctuated by potholes, and not all of them avoidable.
How better to upset your better half and further alienate your kids than leaving them outside the conference center, while you finish your meetings.
Just one more hour and I’ll be free, honey.
True story: Chris and I were attending a conference in Miami a few years ago. Unfortunately, kids weren’t allowed on the convention floor, so for about five hours we had to do the parent swap. See we’re cool like that. We can adapt.
But by the end of that show, after my son Aren had patiently waited in the lobby at the convention center which for some inexplicable reason wasn’t air conditioned, he became ill. That was just before one of the last distributors I needed to speak with had come out for an interview.
I felt so sorry for my boy, yet equally embarrassed in front of the executive.
Mr. Businessman, say hello to my son, Baby Barfy.
Still, I think that was better than the trip when I sent the kids to ski lessons while I endured meetings and interviews. Was I jealous? You betcha.
So here’s my question: Is it ever appropriate to mix business and pleasure? Or should you keep the family vacation separate? I’m of two minds. I see the benefits, the synergies, and I also see a vomiting toddler interrupting an interview.
Help me out, people!