I bet this picture is not what you anticipated seeing when reading the title of this piece. It may also look like an ordinary boy’s bedroom in the USA, but there is a story behind this. The ultimate truth is that I am too embarrassed to show you the before and after of my son’s room or house. I just returned from a trip from IPPE, and even though I have tons of new business cards and opportunities to follow up on from IPPE, the reality is I still have to be a wife, mom, and friend. Everyone was asking me if I was coming to any other shows this Quarter, and the reality is that I now have to be quite selective in where I spend my time as I am needed at home just as much.
But at one point in my career, I was gone every week from January through March. I look back on it now and wonder how my family made it through that period. As you may or may not know, I eventually had to choose between the career and company I loved and my family. Even though I have hidden it well, the regret is always there in the back of my mind. Since some of these life changes, my true friends and colleagues have continued to support me along the way. I have finally created a career and life I can find the needed balance with, even though it would not look like someone else’s version of success.
Today I am a leader and supervise my own employees in my company, and I am also contracted as Director of Live Production for Pel-Freez Biologics. Managing teams with different skill sets and backgrounds have been quite an eye-opening experience lately. While at IPPE, I also had the opportunity to connect with other working parents, and we can take gender out of this equation. As a leader, do you realize the strain put on some of our employees’ families? Do you realize that the trip alone is a sacrifice for most?
In the past, to make the travel successful, I had to hire a housekeeper, and I had a live-in nanny for my son. The costs for childcare and other household services have also skyrocketed, and balancing the budget has not allowed for continued luxuries. Just to attend IPPE, the additional childcare expenses this year equated to my food costs for the week.
As a leader, have you thought of unique opportunities to show appreciation to your staff for being at their best for trade shows? Are you helping them manage burnout to make the first one as great as the last one this season?
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Gift Cards to their favorite restaurants for a date night with their spouse.
- A Monday or Friday off from all virtual meetings for them to catch up on housework and errands.
- Hiring a company for spring cleaning or yard work for them when the season is over.
- A childcare allowance to help them while they are traveling or maybe just for a date night or coffee break.
- Send them flowers, a special treat, or a card to let them know they are appreciated, and you are there to support them.
- If you happen to be at the same show, schedule a 15-minute block to catch up with each of your employees one-one, showing them they are just as important as your customers.
Remember, it does not take much to gain loyalty and show your leadership to your friends or colleagues. What are some of your secrets to share with everyone else?