What a dreaded task – the use-it-or-lose-it vacation days. If it makes you nervous, you are in good company.
It’s not so much that vacation blows, but that the timing is invariably off. You have too many critical tasks as you’re crunching to year-end, but you also know that all that vacation will go up in smoke in less than 45 days.
“I hate the thought of what would happen if I was gone for 3 days right now” is something I’ve heard a time or two. Forget about taking a week.
This is exactly the kind of thing that flags inappropriate balance. A list of indicators that you are truly out of whack:
- You never take as much vacation as you earn (and never will)
- You are more familiar with the details of co-workers families than you are with your own
- You don’t know where your golf clubs are, or their brand for that matter
- An early night means home by 7pm
- “Sleeping in” means ignoring your 6am alarm… for 10 luxurious minutes
- Your kids call you by your first name (even those under 5)
If your job is so damn important, don’t you owe it to your co-workers and customers to take a break and re-charge? You may not realize just how crazy you seem when you are running on the edge. You could be alienating the very people you are trying to serve.
For all your best efforts, you are likely setting unrealistic expectations for co-workers and clients alike (not to mention yor personal issues you are likely racking up). Time to wind down, relax, reflect. Even if the shop implodes while you’re gone, better to be away from the debris.
See this series of Disconnection Therapy films from Virgin Holidays for tips on getting unplugged and recentered.
Great post Toby. It took me well into my 30’s to realize how important it is to take all of your vacation and truly disconnect from the job. I’m a fan of the “leave the country” approach if you can swing it — no cell phones, no email. Even just heading somewhere outside of cell range is a good idea.
Nothing is more arrogant than thinking the place will “fall apart” without you for a few days. Nobody is irreplaceable, and if you don’t manage your own personal sense of balance (and health!) with periodic time off, you’re no good for anyone – yourself, your family, your customers or co-workers.
It’s like a “no duh” but it’s so common!
*Psst* Your first link is broken. It’s linking to a trackback, instead of a post.
Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone.
Oh, shoot. Is this thing on?
Shh. That was a secret link.
Ok, maybe not. I got the right one in now. Useful, I think for those that don’t know if they really need a vacation yet.
A person in our web team saw your blog and sent me the link.
As one of the people involved with implementing our Disconnection program I am glad to hear that the information is of use to people!
I think this is as useful as a list of “things to take on safari”. Bad habits (such as blackberries on vacation) are hard to break, and these segments are a handy reminder to free ourselves and truly unwind.
A valuable reminder!