10% Battery Power… the Road Warrior’s nightmare.  I found myself in this unfortunate scenario on a recent trip back from Seattle.  I had packed all of my power cords the night prior to my departure as my flight out of SeaTac was at 6:00 A.M. This meant I had a 4:30 A.M. taxi waiting and no time to charge my smart phone or laptop.  I boarded the plane on my three and a half hour journey to the Chicago connector and thought I would catch up on some emails.  Much to my chagrin I realized the biggest problem I had was not the fact that my United 757 didn’t have Internet access, but I was out of juice in my laptop.  That really killed my productivity!

When I arrived at O’Hare Airport, I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat and then scour the power grid for an outlet.  A word to the wise, don’t attempt this if you are faint of heart.  It turns out there are thousands of business travelers attempting to do the same thing.  I have to admit it was quite humorous to see all of the men and women in suits and heels squatting down on the floor so that they could access the user-unfriendly power outlets typically used by airport cleaning crews for vacuuming and floor polishing.  I found myself in a ridiculous panic walking miles of airport concourse trying to find an outlet that hadn’t already been camped on.  Every time I would walk toward the short-on-supply sources of power the road warrior camped on it would scowl at me like a wolf hovering over a fresh kill.

It was then that it dawned on me… I’m an Internet junky and it not’s just because I need it for my work.  It has become an integral part of my life.  Inevitably electric power was the nemesis that kept me from the web, but after finding a power outlet and recharging I was back to my mobile work/lifestyle in no time.  Now I had access to the internet (and my desktop thanks to Cloud technology from Microsoft and Citrix) via the network on the ground, but once I boarded the plane, I found that the Continental flight to Fort Lauderdale I was on didn’t offer network services.  Back to square one I went… which is when I decided to write this blog (offline).

So here I sit.  No way to communicate with the rest of the world and a newly branded DIRECTV screen prompting me every couple of minutes to “Swipe now!” to do something “Fun” while I’m drifting into the abyss of non-connectivity.  Some might say I’m a workaholic or at a minimum a webafile.  But the reality is I love what I do and my work and home lifestyle have been radically changed by having access to the net (most of the time).  I’m betting 10 years from now non-connectivity will be a thing of the past and maybe power sources will even catch up to the 21st century.  One can only hope.

In the meantime, I picked up a paper copy (you know that media that kills trees) of the Wall Street Journal and it will have to suffice until I land and pick up my emails while the plane taxis to the gate. Bottom line… if you are a mobile worker, make sure you’ve got spare batteries AND the airline you fly offers network access.  Otherwise, you might just have to put your life on pause for a few hours until you can get back online.