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The Vacation Dilemma Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 5:12 AM
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The company I used to work for was one of the worst when it came to vacation or any other leave. At the time i left i was earning 6 weeks of vacation per year, but using it was always an issue.

When my second child was born i took a week off to be in the hospital and to help at home. Two days into my time off i was receiving calls about another employee leaving that week (he had given over a month notice), asking me to spend some time working with him so i could take over his workload.

The year before i left I had to have surgery on my arm and hand and decided to use some vacation time (3 1/2 weeks) instead of short term disability. Within a week (before the sticthes even came out of my hand) I was receiving phone calls asking when i would be back. When i did return not 1 thing i was assigned had been handled by anyone else and my workload had increased again due to the purchase of another product (but no people).

Post #516559
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 5:17 AM


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In my case, I have 23 days vacation per year. When I go in vacation, my toughs are outside of my work. I have to relax and have fun with my family. I have to forget all about computers. Each year, during 15 years of working, I went to mountain and to sea. And when I came back to work nothing happened tragically.:)

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Post #516566
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 5:43 AM
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When I go on vacation, I have the ability to forget that I even have a job. I can go the entire vacation without thinking about work, responsibilities, what may go wrong, whatever. I don't answer phone calls, pages, emails, or call to check in. I know it will all be there when I return and i can sort out the mess when I get back.

If management starts making noise about me not being able to take off, then I tell them if I'm that important that I can't take my EARNED vacation, then they need to be paying me a lot more money. Since vacation is part of the compensation package, if you don't get to take it, then you are leaving money on the table. When was the last time you saw your employer give up something for nothing?

Now before I go, if there is something special that other people need to be aware of, I will put that in a document so they are not totally blindsided, but I am not going to pre-work everything that I would normally have done that week. If my job is so mission critical, there better already be a trained backup to step in whenever I can't be there for whatever reason.


If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!;)
Post #516583
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:09 AM
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Absolutely, plan and take the vacation.
You've EARNED it. In our business, every day is extra work.
Thanks for being candid with all of us.
Post #516603
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:11 AM


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Should you "have to" do extra work? No. Are you going to in most situations. Yes.

It's kind of the nature of the beast. If you have tasks that have to get completed, some of them can get shared out to co-workers, but not all of them. That's just how it goes.

However, I take my vacations. Like so many others here, I've realized my focus is working in orderr to live, not living in order to work.


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Post #516604
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:14 AM


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I can only think of one response to this article -
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com

Not affiliated to Tim Ferriss at all, just jealous. (and plotting . . .);)


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Post #516605
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:38 AM
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A former colleague told of when he left his previous company...
He had worked a lot of extra hours and accumulated a lot of time off in lieu of payment. One day he went to his boss and said he was leaving.
"You are on three months notice" he was told.
"Fine. I've got 3 months time instead of pay. I'll clear my desk and say goodbye."
And off he went, taking his 3 months as paid holiday.


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Post #516618
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:45 AM
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I think we all tend to be a little guilty of thinking we're the only ones that can do the work, and that all work has to be done right now! There's also some truth to both of those perspectives.

There is a lot of value in 'clearing the decks' prior to vacation, even if means a few extra hours at the office. The equivalent of spring cleaning, it's easier to relax when you've taken care of the stuff that would nag at you otherwise.

It's hardest on the small businesses, where a few people do it all. But somehow even very large companies end up behaving like they are a collection of very small businesses! This is one place where a good manager is worth their salary, because not only can they push you towards taking vacation, they can make sure the calls are fielded and that critical tasks get done so you don't return to a total disaster.

The last two years I've done minimal vacation (and often working vacation) because we've been in start up mode. Over the next year I'll be moving back to the 4-6 weeks vacation I'm used to taking, because especially in a small business I just can't afford to burn out.


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Post #516624
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:46 AM
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The one thing I've always told employers when I go on vacation is to treat my absence as though it was permanent. What would they do if I was leaving for good? They can't hire someone before I get back, so, treat the absence as though they were between my leaving and hiring someone else. That gets them and me thinking about what needs to be accomplished prior to vacation. This usually works unless something major breaks. I'm always on call for that sort of thing. It's the nature of our profession.
Post #516626
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 6:51 AM


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jcrawf02 (6/13/2008)
I can only think of one response to this article -
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com

Not affiliated to Tim Ferriss at all, just jealous. (and plotting . . .);)



Let me know how you make out with this. I was working a part time remote gig for a while and it was awesome. Just didn't last as long as I wanted. Hoping for more.... : )


David

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