When I first started with Capgemini, I had my mind set on landing a local role.  As much as I love to travel, my whole life was here in Atlanta: my family, my boyfriend, my friends, my apartment, everything. I was shocked and scared when I found out my first assignment was not only a traveling role, but a role across the country.  I was staffed out in Los Angeles, California.  While most people would jump with excitement to be in LA, I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions.  I was enthusiastic, apprehensive and nervous, and the anxiety was definitely setting in.  It was Friday afternoon when I found out where I was staffed and I had two days to prepare before taking off on Monday morning.

Easing into the long flights and time change

The flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles is five hours.  When you’re nervous, five hours seems like forever. The first flight was probably the longest five hours of my life.  I was so excited to meet my first team and first client; I had never been more ready for a plane to land. However, I couldn’t believe that once we landed, it was only 10:00 AM in LA, and there was still a long day ahead of us.

The time change was definitely the hardest adjustment.   A three hour time difference is exhausting, especially back and forth every week.  However upon my arrival, I was introduced to the most amazing team.  The Capgemini group I was working with was intelligent and welcoming.  Within a few days I felt very comfortable and for the first time I did not have any doubts.  The project was so enjoyable and being in a new city was so incredible.  Whether it was lunch, dinner, or taking a different route to work, everything was a new experience.  I fell in love with the city.  After a couple of weeks, the time change was nothing and the five hours flights were a piece of cake.

Taking in all the traveling perks

With the help of my experienced teammates, I quickly signed up for all the traveling perks I had heard so much about.  Before I knew it, I was obsessed with checking my flight and hotel points.  I couldn’t believe that after only a few weeks I had racked up so many points! I was already ready to take advantage of alternate travel and plan my first vacation.

And that’s when it hit me.  I was in California and I finally had the opportunity to go out and visit the one city I’ve always wanted to see—San Diego.  I started planning immediately.  Before I knew it, I was staying in California for the weekend, and I was finally going on my dream vacation! It was an experience of a lifetime!  An experience I would not have gotten if I didn’t take the role I did.

Embracing the travel and making friends along the way

Although there are so many personal perks to traveling for work, that’s not the only thing.  Traveling for work provides professional growth that I never really thought of.  Traveling for work provides you the chance to meet people from other places, and see cultures of companies in different cities.  It enables you to grow your professional network on so many levels.

When you travel with a Capgemini team, you are together all the time: sharing a car to work, lunch, and dinner.  You get the chance to learn about people within your company and their different experiences.  You learn about people’s skills, trainings people have, internal things they are involved with, and so on.  I think I learned the most about Capgemini and its offerings during dinner conversations with that first team.  You not only get to build a team while at work, you get to build a friendship outside of that—a friendship that would not happen if you were leaving work every day alone, and going on with your normal life. 

Traveling for work does mean long flights, delays, time zone changes, and so on, but the experience is so worth it.  It allows you to do and see new things, take on personal advantages, build your network, and make new friends.  There are so many positives to traveling for work—just make sure to get of your bubble, and enjoy every minute of it!