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On the importance of a complete break Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, August 29, 2014 10:29 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item On the importance of a complete break


Gail Shaw
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Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 2:28 AM


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The issue is similar, but not the same, for freelancers. There is a fear that one cannot ignore calls from agencies, queries from the current client or contact from previous clients. The reality is that it can usually wait.

Ironically, during my holiday this year the only contact I needed to have was because SSC decided to post my first editorial (I am sure I could have contacted to have it rescheduled a few days earlier or later). I felt obliged to try and check the discussion thread and did so throughout the day. At least that was not the same as someone calling you up, with you knowing that they are one smidge of lost patience away from asking you to come in.


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Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 2:34 AM


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Gary Varga (9/1/2014)
The issue is similar, but not the same, for freelancers. There is a fear that one cannot ignore calls from agencies, queries from the current client or contact from previous clients. The reality is that it can usually wait.


Indeed. I've found most are happy enough with a "I'm on vacation, can we discuss this when I get back?". The ones who aren't are usually ones I'm not keen on working with at all because they're unreasonable in other areas (wanting to pay peanuts for complex work that must be done in a fraction of the time it needs and then screaming about problems)

Ironically, during my holiday this year the only contact I needed to have was because SSC decided to post my first editorial


Hehe. I was checking mail ever few days because I'd had to write a report on SQLBits for my boss and I wanted to make sure he was happy with it. But that was mostly open mail, notice there's no reply from him, close mail.



Gail Shaw
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Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 2:43 AM


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GilaMonster (9/1/2014)
...I've found most are happy enough with a "I'm on vacation, can we discuss this when I get back?". The ones who aren't are usually ones I'm not keen on working with at all...


Totally agree. It does appear that when someone is unreasonable about one thing that they tend to be always unreasonable. I don't think I should be surprised by that.


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
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Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 7:58 AM


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Thanks for this reminder, Gail. You especially have great credibility on this issue because you are a tireless and expert contributor on SQL Server Central - your forum posts have helped me greatly on more than one occasion. So it is certainly the case that you deserve a proper break as much as anyone here!

Best regards,
webrunner


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Post #1609629
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 8:17 AM
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I couldn't agree more with the article. A break (a real one with zero to minimal contact and no email) is absolutely important. It gives us a chance to unplug and relax. While I really do enjoy my work, I find that I need a clean break every once in a while. I come back refreshed and ready to go, ready to solve problems, ready to take a un-jaded and fresh look at pending work. This is, of course, after going through hundreds of emails sent by people who knew I was on vacation but decided to send them anyway. After that, then I'm ready to go.

The mental clearing out of buffered thoughts often leads to a fresh perspective, which is what we could all use from time to time. It usually comes at a great time because I find that the busiest week of the year is normally the week before a vacation.



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Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:43 PM


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I think some people like feeling needed.

For myself, I rarely check work email when I'm not working because there's the chance something in there annoys me (an unreasonable request, a question from someone who should know better, etc). And I've found that if I wait until the day I'm back in the office, not only am I less annoyed, but often the problem has gone away anyway.


Leonard
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Post #1609832
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 5:50 PM
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The key thing with a break is the length. Two weeks is the minimum you need to clear your head of work, so only the subsequent weeks ae true holiday's. By the sounds of things we are a bit lucky in Australia with a mandated minimum four weeks per year. Of course a week or two are taken by a forced xmas break at most organisations, finish up just before and start back the first Monday after the new year. But I think one of the reasons for the forced break is to reduce the company exposure to paying out leave.

I read an article about 10 years ago from a phsycologist talking about how long it takes to free the mind and two weeks was the figure mentioned.

I'm in the fortunate position that I am now a little financially independant so I can take a break between jobs and I find it much needed as contract work is very stressful, trying to get across an organisation in a couple of days.



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Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2014 8:18 AM


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dogramone (9/2/2014)
The key thing with a break is the length. Two weeks is the minimum you need to clear your head of work...

I read an article about 10 years ago from a phsycologist talking about how long it takes to free the mind and two weeks was the figure mentioned.


I could see how 2 weeks is a good starting point. Being able to put down the phone, tablet, laptop, etc for that two weeks might be difficult at first. But that is really an essential piece of getting a break. It is harder to clear the mind if constantly fielding calls or emails.




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Posted Friday, September 5, 2014 4:52 AM


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Gary Varga (9/1/2014)
The issue is similar, but not the same, for freelancers. There is a fear that one cannot ignore calls from agencies, queries from the current client or contact from previous clients. The reality is that it can usually wait.

Ironically, during my holiday this year the only contact I needed to have was because SSC decided to post my first editorial (I am sure I could have contacted to have it rescheduled a few days earlier or later). I felt obliged to try and check the discussion thread and did so throughout the day. At least that was not the same as someone calling you up, with you knowing that they are one smidge of lost patience away from asking you to come in.


In the early days when I first started contracting I would fret on this, but now, if I'm on a between-contracts-break (AKA bench) I make them wait. The better ones(!) will usually be polite and wait until you reply. One irony of freelance is your so busy working for a client you don't have time for a break/time off, then when you are off/end contract, you don't want to spend money on going away somewhere since you don't when you when you will be back earning.

Nice article, Gail I guess we all need to realise that the mind needs to rest at just as much as the rest of our bodies. Probably more.

qh


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