Some buzzwords are laughable in their blatant attempts to feed selected egos. ‘Road warrior’ is one such label that has been sorely misapplied in recent years.
The term dates back to the 1981 movie sequel Mad Max 2, which was marketed in North America (where most audiences were as yet unfamiliar with its low-budget 1979 predecessor) as The Road Warrior. In this post-apocalyptic action film, Mel Gibson plays a former highway patrol officer who faces off against marauders driving motorcycles, cars and trucks. The hardened protagonist is literally a warrior of the roads.
The violent imagery proved popular; in 1983, a tag team named the Road Warriors debuted in the professional wrestling scene, basing their look on the movie’s wardrobe style. They went on to great success, though motorcycles, cars and roads were not integral components of their performances.
Today, however, any common business traveller can apparently be considered a road warrior. On March 26, 2009, USA Today unveiled Hotel Check-In, an ongoing news series billed as a “road warrior's guide to the lodging landscape.” Notably, the information it provides bears little resemblance to post-apocalyptic accommodations.
Communications remains key to survival regardless of where professionals are traveling, the availability of laptops, mobile phones and other devices make it possible to be reached from anywhere via a phone call, email or IM.
To ensure these road warriors are always available and can have clear, quality communications each time, the headset becomes an extremely necessary piece of equipment.
If Viscusi is correct, perhaps these salespeople are indeed akin to road warriors. After all, if they didn’t have their notebook computers and mobile phones, she suggests they wouldn’t even survive their daily work experience.
That extent of ego-feeding, one would guess, they neither need nor want ….