From the book – Why we went to France – and then didn’t


IMG_3524By French business custom, the first meeting of the year was purely a getting-to-know-you affair, where little was accomplished other than learning your new team members’ names and personality quirks, letting them get to know yours, and mutually testing the political waters. The second trip of the year (usually in late February, early March) was when things actually started picking up speed, plans for the year were broached and debated, and tentative decisions started to form. And the third trip, customarily before March was up (and Corporate found out just how much the last two trips had cost them), was to reinforce your stated intentions, refresh memories on shared interests and promises made over dinners shared on your last visit, and to make sure people knew you were genuinely, deeply, unwaveringly serious about what you’d discussed, the last time you were there.

Then, around the end of March, the Accounting department would realize how much coin was flowing to the airlines, chain hotels, and restaurants in Paris, flaming red flags would go up, and all that travel would skid to a screeching halt. And for good reason. Travel to Paris got pricey – even on the most Spartan of trips. You wouldn’t think that staying at the company-mandated Holiday Inn… inhaling a quick complimentary hotel “breakfast” of espresso, chocolate croissants, and containers of cold cuts and fruit… lunching in the company cafeteria… with maybe a dinner or two out with colleagues… would cost all that much, but multiply that by all the Americans who were jockeying for position with colleagues in France, and it added up. Unfortunately, many of us weren’t placed high enough on the food chain to command a travel budget that included elaborate team-building dinners and accompanying entertainment, so we got the closest scrutiny. There was a fine line between expediency and perceived excess when traveling to France, and Accounts Payable only had eyes for what it considered excess.

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Annnnd we’re back – time for more Zen Moto action


rear-view-helmet-streetviewI took a few months off to finalize the print book (get it in paperback as well as Kindle here), as well as dive into spring and early summer.

I also had to do some fancy footwork at the office, because they’ve been downsizing, and I needed to really bring it, to remind folks that I add value every day… and keep the paycheck coming in. Maybe it’s just me, but I like having a roof over my head and food on the table.  Plus, they’re easing out folks who are 50+, and in less than a month, I will fit that description, so it was time to reprioritize and kick into high gear.

To be honest, I haven’t done much serious traveling for months, and watching all the videos of motorcycles and Paris was just more reminders that I’m not on the back of a bike in France. I don’t miss the job that took me to Paris, several times a year. Doing that trip in the middle of winter is no fun. But I do miss Paris… it grew on me.

So,the box of books arrived in the mail last week, and I just opened them up yesterday (they were sitting in the back seat of my commuter car, just waiting for the right time). Holding the results in my hand, after months and months of work on it… well, that’s quite a feeling.

So, I’m back.