Good Monday morning to all. I hope that you had a good weekend.
This morning I come with tales of a whirlwind trip to southern California late last week. A company whom I had targeted for potential employment and with whom I had interviewed by phone and videoconference a couple of weeks ago invited me to come to meet senior leadership to discuss a career opportunity.
When the human resources contact for this company told me that we'd be meeting in Pasadena, outside of Los Angeles, I was filled with conflicting emotions, as I know what a long and logistically challenging trip that can be, but that outweighed the excitement of moving ahead in the selection process with this particular employer.
I received the flight itinerary last Sunday and was surprised to see that my trip involved THREE flights in each direction. On top of that, the primary place I was connecting was in Charlotte, and, if you visit here periodically, you will likely remember that the Charlotte airport is not among my favorites, due to the chronically tight connections and spread-out nature of that airport.
Regardless, that was the plan, I was to spend much of Thursday traveling to the area, would have the late afternoon and evening to recharge, then meet with my contacts first thing Friday morning (at least, first thing local time) and then back to the airport to fly home. OK, I thought, no problem, I've had worse flight schedules and certainly worse reasons to travel.
I sailed through security Thursday morning without a hiccup, and when I arrived at the gate I saw that my flight to Charlotte was to be delayed. Since I knew I had little room for issues, I talked with the gate agent and her comment was that I would likely miss my connecting flight to Phoenix. That in itself wasn't the issue--the real problem was that I would also miss the last plane to Burbank (the terminating point of my trip and the Los Angeles-area airport that was closest to Pasadena) if that happened. She asked if I would object to flying instead to Los Angeles International, and since I knew that getting there was the primary issue, I told her I did not.
After reviewing a number of options it appeared the best plan was to have me fly to Charlotte and wait for a flight that would leave there at 4:45 PM---a wait in Charlotte of nearly six hours! That didn't sound great, but the other options would have also involved a couple of flights, etc., so we agreed that's what should happen. I had already checked my bag in anticipation of tight connections and the thought of missing a flight because I was awaiting my planeside-checked bag was really more than I could accept. So she changed it to LAX, and I worried all afternoon that the bag would not arrive.
All went well, I endured the wait with some wifi and a recharge of my phone and the trip with plenty of video entertainment to occupy me. But I then had to wait another thirty minutes to see if my bag came with me, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had. On the way to baggage claim I and several others from my flight had to take an elevator and just as the doors were closing two men entered suddenly. One was not familiar to me, but the other was actor Sean Penn, wearing dark glasses and a suit. He stood next to me, we exchanged pleasantries and that was that. He's much smaller than I often realize.
Once I got the bag I went to the rental car plaza by bus and then mapped out how to steer my Impala from LAX to Old Town Pasadena. Two comments--it wasn't as bad as I anticipated to drive LA streets and freeways, and also the folks there certainly drive fast and make snap decisions about lane changes and such!
In the end, I arrived, finally, for some rest. My interview went well the next morning, and my return flights went as scheduled, tight connections and all. I was pretty tired when I finally made it home around midnight Friday night!
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