Many of our colleagues are involved with our clients on a daily basis: travelling is therefore ubiquitous. Can frequent changes in location be reconciled with family and friends?
Do they perhaps offer benefits?
Software architect Benedikt Niehues shares his personal experiences.
Travel as a prerequisite
"We are an IT consulting company, and for the most part we work with our clients on site. We must be prepared to do so because we cannot promise that an IT consultant will always remain at the same location when working for a client," the company said, "But isn’t that what makes the job attractive? Changes, new projects, new tasks and new people to work with?"
My first impulse: "Yes, but…"
There were objections – quite a few – but it soon became clear that even fairly high travel demands could be reconciled with family life.
As the father of two daughters of four and six, I would naturally like to be able to be home every evening. Nevertheless, as a software architect at itemis I have a lot of client projects. At times I am at home, but I’m also often away.
Despite the travelling I manage a good work-life balance, not least through the support of my family. Clients do not usually demand nine-to-five presence five days a week, while Skype or Google Hangouts (agile) support collaboration in distributed teams, allowing me to reduce my travelling to two to three days a week on average.
Relocation also has advantages
However, even when I’m actually travelling a lot, this has advantages. Without everyday distractions I can focus on my work at the client’s site. But it is also important to me to get to know client companies from the inside without being subject to their administrative constraints. In addition, interdisciplinary teams always have really good people with varying qualifications and experience of different cultures. This not only extends my personal network from project to project, but also always enables me to learn something from team colleagues. Face-to-face work of course offers a much steeper learning curve, especially when team colleagues are looking for solutions for ever-new problems, or socializing in the evening. Such events are not only fun, but also make the team stronger, increase its motivation, create mutual understanding and call for enormous exchange of experience.
A good compromise between job and family
I can say that for my part I have found a good compromise between my job and family life. If you want to be open to new things, possess a degree of friendliness and willingness to learn, and always be able to look forward to your time at home when you actually are there, regular travel has its appeal. I’m therefore quite willing to travel regularly to the sites of exciting projects.
If my motivation for this should change, because itemis is an understanding employer an exit from a project could usually be arranged quickly so that I could face new challenges.
Working at itemis – want to know more? Then look at our career pages! We’re looking forward to feedback and comments.