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Time Off

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Aug 20, 2012. It is being re-published as Steve on vacation.

As a US citizen, I'm lucky to work for a UK company. I get a generous allotment of vacation, and desperately try to use it all each year. I haven't been successful yet, but I'm getting closer. If we could only get a little more snow at the beginning and end of the season.....

Last year a friend told me that they lost 6 days of vacation. Over a few years this person had accumulated extra vacation by basically working too hard and when the year ended, some of their vacation was lost because of carryover limits. This person vowed to change this year and use all their vacation, but with a busy job at a small company I'm not sure that will come true. Unfortunately, I've all too often seen this same behavior from many people in IT.

This piece shows that all too often people are not taking their vacation, or they're not taking it as a complete break from work. I've been in both situations, and over time I've learned that I'm not being more productive in either case. I'm unbalanced, and over time I become less productive. That's especially true if I'm doing creative work, like writing, or developing code.

There's no shortage of poor managers out there, and there are plenty of them that will work you as hard as you allow. I don't have any great solutions for dealing with them other than scheduling vacation every year, insisting you get to take it, limiting contact with work, and if all else fails, looking for another job.

Life is short, too short to spend more of it as work than you have to. Take advantage of your vacation to relax and recharge, even if it's a stay-cation at home. Getting away from work is not only important, it's something you owe to yourself and your family.

Steve Jones

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