Today’s post is pretty short and sweet. I want to talk about a pet peeve of mine and that is travel expenses. At one point in my career I traveled every week. Traveling is fun and exciting when you are a young man, but the novelty has definitely worn off for me. Fortunately I don’t travel nearly as often now, but I still probably hop on a plane at least once a month.
Your company may have policies around traveling that dictate which flights you can take or how much you can spend on meals. My company has a travel policy, which to be completely honest I have never read. That may sound strange coming from me. You might be thinking ”How can you enforce and adhere to a policy that you have never read?” That is a fair question, and I have a very good answer. When traveling I spend money as if it were own. I don’t go to five star steak houses. I don’t run up $1000 bar tabs, and I certainly don’t charge golf games to the company. I don’t and nor do my employees. That is just not the way I operate.
I have seen a lot of executives that regularly use their travel time as an opportunity to try out the finest hotels, eat at the finest restaurants, and run up bar tabs that I would be horrified to be associated with. I am not sure at what level one starts to feel like they are entitled to be treated like a king at the company’s expense, but apparently I have not reached that level yet. When I see people do this, it leaves a very bad impression upon me and one that I am not likely to forget.
At every moment in every workday people are judging you. Your peers are judging you. Your employees are judging you, and your boss is certainly judging you. Running up large and frivolous travel expenses is a great way to undermine any great work that you do. Nothing screams louder that you could care less about the company then running up large travel expenses. Is that the message that you want to send? Of all of the people that I have seen abuse the travel policy with my current company, none of them are still with the company. I am not saying that they got fired or laid off because of their travel habits, but I am confident that it was at least one part of their demise.
For those of you that are in leadership positions, then you have to consider the message you are sending when you run up frivolous travel expenses. That sends a very dangerous message to your employees about how important it is to control expenses.
If you are just starting your career out, then I have a very simple piece of advice for you. Always spend your company’s money as if it were you own. I don’t care if everyone else in your company spends ridiculous amounts of money on travel. You need to be better than that. You need to be smarter than that. The money you save will likely ultimately save jobs when times are lean. One of the jobs you save may be your own.