When I was told I would be placed in “Corporate Housing Lubbock” for a month and then into “Corporate Housing Midland” for another month, I cannot tell you how displeased I felt. Those word combinations being issued to me by my lovely company were supposed to be comforting – “You will be sent out of town to do our bidding, but rest easy because you will be given a home there – A corporate home – A corporate home in Lubbock/Midland. You lucky salesman. We value you so much that we are putting you into some sort of ugly box version of furnished life in cities you would never visit.”
Thanks bosses. You really know how to treat your best workers.
I am a traveling salesman. I should not be complaining. I’ve been to all sorts of weird towns and lived out of my suitcase in bed bug motor lodges without complaint. What bothered me most about this memorandum about my upcoming road trip itineraries was the use of euphemisms to describe my “housing opportunities.” Usually my company just says, “get a motel for under $75 and save the receipts.” But this time, I was told I had been set up in Corporate Housing – as if I were going to be ushered into a swank spot that I actually enjoyed. Staying out on the road is not a swank thing. And living in a motel is never called living in a home.
I was mad at my bosses – even more angry at the marketing department who most likely worded the memo to me. I just want honesty. Don’t raise my expectations that I’m going to be setting up shop at a nice place every night. Just keep it real and pay for my vending machine dinners — A Snickers, some Doritos, and a 16 ounce Mountain Dew will do me fine.
After stewing a while and thinking about firing off an email to my superiors about their joke of a housing description, I thought better of it and determined to be a good employee. I decided to be the sort who is unflappable – someone who is not emotionally affected by a silly set of words. I went on the extended sales trip and prepared for the regular.
But then, when I got to my destinations in Lubbock and Midland, and found that my extended stay housing (At Home Corporate Suites) was actually the opposite of what I had been imagining and even beyond what I could have asked for, I had to totally eat my words (the ones I left in my head). For once, my company had put me up in two places that were beautifully furnished spaces. I was actually impressed with the design, the staff who handled my needs, the food options, and the fact that it really did feel like a home.
This is my confession of being an angry little child who guessed wrong about their bosses and their care for me. It’s also a promise to find a way to stay at these amazing places again. I liked them better than my own apartment.