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The Vacation Dilemma

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on June 12, 2008. It is being re-run as Steve is traveling.

In IT many of us often don't take enough vacation. There are many tales and war stories of how hard we work, and all too often, tales of people that carry over vacation because they can't or don't find the time to get away from work.

I'm as bad as anyone, and not having had an HR department for 4 years, I've rarely taken a day off in that time. Including weekends! Sure I've had some vacations with the family, but more often than not I've had a laptop to check on work, get the newsletter out or something else. Last summer I went to Mexico and I think that was the first time I'd been unwired for more than 2 days in 4 years.

In the past when I've prepared for vacation from SQLServerCentral.com, even if I was available, I've pre-written editorials and basically had everything done before I left so that whoever was covering for me had very minimal work. So in essence, I haven't had much of a vacation since I did the work ahead of time, doubling up for a week or two to be prepared.

So for this Friday's poll...

Should you have to get extra work done before or after vacation?

I'm not really talking about finishing something for a deadline or getting your normal work completed. Instead I am wondering if you need to get more work done that covers for your time off. So the week before or after vacation, do you need to do more than normal work?

My feeling is that if you have to do extra work, you've lost some of the value of the vacation. If people leave your work and you have to do extra when you get back, the same thing occurs. You can't really recharge or refresh if you find yourself stressing about extra work.

This year I'm making an effort to get away and let someone else handle the load. So you'll see more guest editorials, or perhaps a few days with just "Steve's on Vacation" in this spot :)

What do you think? Should you have a real break when you go on vacation? Should work be assigned to someone else so you can enjoy yourself? Should work just get delayed so that vacation doesn't cause any extra effort on your part? Let us know.

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