For the last 5 years I’ve been on the road quite a bit. Before my trips I get all the necessary documentation ready, printing out itineraries, hotel information, rental car information, and maps and directions.
As prepared as I was, I usually would kind of get lost. I’m good with directions, but if there was a road closure, or if I missed an exit, I’d get anxious and frustrated.
A few months ago when I was in Orlando I had a packed trip. I was doing a number of presentations from Orlando to Tampa, and had a lot of driving to do. I thought I was smart by saving the Google maps and directions to my laptop, but when I tried to open the file without an internet connection I couldn’t see what I was hoping to see. Major frustration.
It was on that trip that I decided to buy a GPS system. My first GPS experience was on my Silicon Valley book tour trip, driving around that area with my publisher for a week. I thought it was wierd that he needed a GPS since he lived there, but I was very impressed with the technology. I asked him if he wanted me to “turn The Lady on” when it looked like we needed help finding our next address. Mitchell remarked “it’s worth it (the $300ish price tag) if it helps you get to one meeting ontime.”
Fast forward a few weeks… I landed back home from my Orlando trip and before I even went home I bought a GPS system. I absolutely LOVE it. I don’t use it much in Utah, because of the street system here (don’t usually need it), but EVERY time I go somewhere else I bring it and HEAVILY rely on it. In fact, this week in Nashville I had the thought “what would I need more, my wallet (with ID and credit cards) or my GPS?” At that time I figured I needed my GPS more.
I actually found my GPS for about $175 (discontinued floor model). It is a 4″ wide Magellan, and I wonder why it took me so long to make this investment. This one tool has significantly changed my stress level and my ability to go to diferent places when I travel. I affectionately named her The Lady.
I wonder, what are the tools that we should have for managing our careers, or a job search (two different sets of tools, I’d argue)? Are we trying to do without the tools, instead of paying $50 here or $200 there? I’m not suggesting that you go out right now and stockpile tools and resources, but going without the right tool will hinder your progress. Just ask a tradesman what their opinion of expensive vs. bargain tools is. The plumbers and carpenters I know invest in their tools, because that helps them do their jobs better, faster, and with higher quality.
Are you investing in your career tools, or are you skimping to save a buck now?