March 14, 2023

Live from... a train!

 I am currently on a Train!

I had to go to Edinburgh for work, and decided it would be fun to stop in London on the way.  This morning I caught the 7:23 train from Cardiff to London, spent a day working in the London office, and then boarded a 5pm train to Edinburgh.

The train is an enjoyable 4.5 hours.  I bought myself sushi, which I immediately devoured.  London has many passable sushi-to-go chains.  I wish we had those in Cardiff.

I sort of wish I had downloaded a movie or something - 4.5 hours of train solitude is a lot!  I could do anything... I could do work.  I could work on some strategic work stuff that I seem to always be putting off.  I could listen to an audiobook, I could read.

This feels like a mini 4.5 hour holiday.

When I boarded the train they announced the food service was closed because the card machine was running updates and they can't take cash.  At one point the helpful man said "it's at 38% and it needs to get to 100% so it will be a while."

I love overhearing conversations on the train, and this morning I listened to a conversation that could be mine. It was all about defining objectives, strategizing, reports, authorities matrix, operational efficiency.  Sometimes I wonder if everything I do is made up.  

If what I do is made up then other people who have made it further than me (i.e. the illusive C suite) must be doubly or triply made up.  

What skills does a CEO have that a really good PA doesn't?  Strategic thinking?  Or really good report writing? 

Ability to synthesize lots of data?  There's nothing that has more data than a human, and a very good PA needs to understand all of the human they support.

Why isn't there a career track from PA to CEO?  Weirdly, PAs are much closer to the decision makers and see more than the people three steps behind the CEO, but the PA will probably never be CEO, and those three steps behind the CEO on that weird ladder scramble to know what the PA does.

Edinburgh in 3.5  hours.  I probably should work on my "strategic objectives".  The CEO would probably work on strategic objectives. But also, everyone 3 steps behind the CEO might be working on strategic objectives.  

Maybe I don't want to get started because it feels like we all have too many strategic objectives?


  1. Enjoy the journey! I think I'd divide my time between looking out the window, people watching, wandering around the train, and after that there MIGHT be some time leftover for internet/phone stuff. There's definitely no time to get any work done at any point in there.

    I need to live somewhere with passable sushi to go chains! What we have in our grocery store is fine in a pinch but I'd really like to level up.

  2. Oh, man. I'd get so much reading/napping done on a long train trip like that. I hope it was fun!