“Eulogy for a Travel Agent” or "Things to do on the Internet when you're dead"

"It's not personal. Your job in accounting got offshored to India so we're moving you to the kitchen for a special assignment." My friend and brilliant economist Craig Garthwaite once said, "It must suck for the guy on the road crew who holds slow/stop sign to know that he could be replaced by a bucket of sand." Craig is very compassionate that way. But technology isn’t. Technology is eliminating redundant middlemen faster than the Ark Fleet Ship B from planet Golgafrincham.

And now technology has its sights set on you, the communications expert. Don't believe me? Take the following quiz to see for yourself:

Do you include any of the following among the "critical contributions" you make to your organization?

1. Serving as a conduit between the C-suite and PRNewswire;

2. Making sure that Legal has approved the draft release that’s scheduled to go out next Tuesday; or

3. Sitting on the PR Selection Committee to determine which agency your organization will hire to tamp down that ugly flare up with the Digby account

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you need to listen carefully to this eulogy for a travel agent, lest you too find yourself replaced by the proverbial bucket of sand.

Eulogy for a Travel Agent

“Bob wasn’t just my travel agent; Bob was my friend. Not the come-over-and-watch-the-game-tonight kind of friend. But the kind of friend you’d call when you needed to make travel arrangements.

“Bob was my go-to guy. He’d get me the best air fares. He’d find those secret, unadvertised rental-car upgrades. And he always booked me into a modestly priced hotel right near the convention center. And not one of those flea-bag joints down by the bus station, either. I’m talking a Red Roof Inn with a continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

“But Bob saw the writing on the wall. One day when he was booking my trip to Peoria for the Mystery Shopping Providers Association Summit and Expo, he leaned over his desk, and he says to me, he says, ‘I can see the writing on the wall. This Internet thing is going to put me out of business.'

“So I say, ‘What do you mean, Bob?’ And he says, ‘Why would anyone hire me—or any travel agent for that matter—to do what they can easily do for themselves online?’

“I said, ‘No Bob! Even if we can book our own travel, we’ll always need travel agents because … well because …

"At that moment, we both knew it was over for him and the travel agent business.

“Bob’s with us here today. I can feel his presence. And I can see him right there in the back row. In fact, I see Bob all over town since he got laid off. Poor guy’s got nothing to do and all the time in the world to do it. Ain’t that right, Bob?”

“Damn straight!”

“So if we learn just one thing from Bob’s experience, let it be this: Don’t wait for the Internet to put you out of a job. When you see the writing on the wall, teach yourself ways to write better, run faster, and jump higher. Because that’s what Bob would have wanted.”

“Amen!”

“Thanks, Bob.”