Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Must Keep" Document Organization

It was a slow day at work today so I did a little organization.

I used to travel a lot. I thought I'd be ready to go again shortly after having E, but boy was I wrong. The thought of leaving my baby, for even one night, ripped my heart out of my chest. Luckily, budget cuts were hitting right around the time I was on maternity leave and when I went back to work, traveling was much harder to come by and required many approvals from management. That was quite a convenient excuse.

However, we have to keep our travel packages for 5 years so I still have a drawer full of paperwork. Each package includes a cover sheet, approval forms, itineraries, hotel, rental car, airline and miscellaneous receipts. My organization scheme for these packages goes a little like this: paperclip the package together, put it in the hanging folder marked "Travel". That folder has been a mess for so long. It's all there, but it's not pretty.

So, with a box of clear page protectors and a three ring binder from the supply cabinet, I got to work. Each package is really only 5-10 pages so each one fits just fine inside one page protector. When I was all done, I had a binder of clearly separated travel packages. Well, technically, I underestimated the size of binder I'd need and we didn't have one big enough so I have two binders until a huge (probably 4 inch) binder can be ordered. I think I'll use this method at home with things like users manuals and other important documents.

Sorry for no pretty pictures. Office work isn't pretty.

The bonus to this project was looking back at all the places I've been. I've been to Los Angeles and Washington DC the most. There were program reviews, conferences, flight tests, training, and educational outreach trips.

One trip brought me very close to where my sister was stationed. I went early and stayed with her for a couple nights and then she joined me in my fabulous hotel at the conference. She was pregnant with my niece at the time.

One trip brought me very close to where my brother lived. I stayed with him for a couple days when I was done with that recruiting event and got to meet my other niece for the first time.

I spent three weeks in the California desert in July and two weeks living in a dorm in Alabama. There were three long road trips-- one to Niagara Falls, which I took alone but stopped to visit my future brother-in-law at college; one to St. Louis, which was a group road trip in a rented van when I was 7 months pregnant; and one to Gettysburg, which was a "Leadership Trip" on a tour bus with senior management and junior engineers. Several of us went on a self-led ghost hunt through a graveyard in Gettysburg and the grounds keeper kicked us out.

In my non-working time on these trips, I've toured Naval aircraft carriers, visited the zoos, gone to major league baseball games, and generally seen the sights. I've been to LA, San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, New York City, Atlantic City, Washington DC, Atlanta, Orlando and plenty more.

I've visited Canada, the UK and Germany. Mr. S went with me to the UK and we stayed a few additional days. The amount of walking we did in London might be the most I've ever done. He and E also joined me in Germany when E was just 10 months old. I worked almost the entire time but I was impressed with his ability to get around in a very foreign German village with a 10 month old. I'm certain if the roles were reversed, I would've sat in the hotel room all day.

Some trips were good, some were not-so-good, but all were memorable. It's probably something that I'll never do again-- at least not with as much frequency, but I'm so glad I got to do so much traveling early in my career.

And now, it's all neatly organized!

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