Sliding Back In

After a month off at work I have to admit I’ve had a wee bit of problem sliding back into my old routine at work.  I would blame that on the fact I’ve had a little distance from all the ‘important’ problems that people are facing, so my perspective is a wee bit different than everyone else.

I noticed a month was long enough to totally disconnect myself from the issues at the office.  I couldn’t recall the status of some projects and had managed to forgot completely I wrote a particular document until my supervisor reminded me. The net benefit for my workplace is I can actually be objective about all the work around…including my own.  So while on the surface this a handy way for me to ask: do we really need to do this?  Does this provide value to the company? Is there someone who could do this better than me?  The downside of it is I’m a bit slower doing things as I have to read a bit more to recall the status of things or where I left a piece of work.  A small price to pay for not looking at a work email for a month.

Yet when I discussed my trip with a few supervisors I noticed the looks of horror on their face about not checking their email for a month.  This to me this is a problem.  In fact according to a recent article on the Globe and Mail, a full 60% of Canadians check their email or answer work calls when on a vacation.  To which I reply…drop the damn smart phone and go have a break already!

Really folks I hate to break the news, but NO ONE IS INVALUABLE to a large company.  Everyone is frankly replaceable…yes there might be a few weeks of some messy work after someone leaves, but in three months it was like they were never there in a the first place.  I’ve watched it happen first hand when a co-worker left years ago.  So there is no reason the world of work can get along without you for a few weeks a year.  Frankly if your employees can’t…you screwed up as a supervisor. Foster some bloody independence in your staff already.

So go take that vacation and finally let go of all that tension and stress.  Yes you will have a lot of emails to read when you come back…yet you could also take the extreme route of stating on your ‘out of office’ notification that you will be deleting all emails received while on vacation.  If it is important…send it again when you are back.  My point is taking a break is essential for your long term health.  Avoid it doesn’t make taking a vacation any less important.

One thought on “Sliding Back In”

  1. I’m guilty of answering my email on holiday. Usually in a down moment like at the airport I’ll take out my Blackberry and start going through all of them. However my motivation is purely selfish and not egotistical. The fact is if I travel for a week and leave my smart phone at home I’m likely returning to close to 1000 emails, even with my autoresponder on. I find that stressful. I recently travelled for a couple of weeks and returned to perhaps only 30-40 emails that I could not delete, forward or quickly respond to on the road. The truth of the matter is I found Europe a whole lot more relaxing years ago when my Blackberry started working there. Having things under control allows my to relax the rest of the time. Some of my friend who have already achieved early retirement bring their smart phone for the comfort it brings to remain “in touch” . I treasure my time off and feel the same horrified way about all the people here who have not taken a “real” vacation for the last 10 years.

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