By Jim A. Luff
Each year my wife and I take a 10 day vacation beginning Memorial Day weekend. It is my official kick off of summer. I suppose this stems back from my childhood where the school system dismissed for summer in the week that coincided with the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. I remember as a child that sense of freedom as I stepped off the school bus on that last day of school knowing there would be no school, no assignments, no homework and no alarm clocks for the next three months. Oh what a feeling! Three months!
I am glad I savored those memories because a three month vacation in the real world that we live in is just a dream. Only school teachers get the three month vacation plan. So for two weeks, I make the best of it. That isn’t to say we don’t do mini-vacations throughout the year but this week is THE vacation of the year.
I think that particularly in our business, you must unplug and get completely away. Our business is unlike most where 5:00 p.m. signals the end of work until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow and the weekend begins Friday at 5:00 p.m., when you become “free” for two days. Anyone who has spent any time in this business knows that when you run a 24/7 operation, the hands on the clock mean nothing. The phone can ring at any hour. Problems can arise at any hour. Our life is spent checking flight arrival times, adjusting our own operations to meet the delays of airlines, brides, corporate executives running late and the like.
Because every single day has assignments, we are vulnerable to the anticipated performance of both our chauffeurs and our vehicles. A failure by either one can turn the brightest day to black in a hurry and the actions to save the passengers rest solely upon us in an industry that caters to the elite and demanding. There is simply no room for error and you must always have or create backup plans the insure success.
While the main focus of our work is moving people to and from their destinations, there is so much behind the scenes work going on. There are bills to be paid, bills to be collected, tax forms filed by deadlines and of course making sure that we are in compliance with the PUC, the CHP, the DMV, the DOT, the city, the county and the airport authorities. Did I forget to mention every agency that places a tax upon us getting their nickels and dimes in a timely manner?
With so much to do, it is important to your mental health to completely unplug and get away from it all. So, train someone you can trust to take the reins for a few weeks and head out to your favorite destination. Don’t call in and check. I know it will be hard but you can do it. There is nothing I can do from here so I don’t even want to know. The cool part about our business is you can travel by limousine everywhere you go and either pay the bill through your company as a farm-out or write it off on your personal taxes as a legitimate business expense. You have to use other services to stay on top of your own and that is a legitimate excuse to charter one where ever you may travel.
All this talk about work has made me thirsty. It is clearly Margarita time!
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