The Challenge of Time Off

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Challenge of Time Off

  • Thanks for the reminder, and encouragement, that we are in control of our actions, reactions and choices. You have provided the right words at the right time.

    <><
    Livin' down on the cube farm. Left, left, then a right.

  • Sound advice, but I'd like to add a related issue from the other side. I'm lucky that everyone in my team is highly motivated, but that has its challenges as well. In this context, I have several people who I regularly have to encourage to not keep working overtime, to stop work at a reasonable time, to switch off phones and email and enjoy a bit of private life. They all know they can take all their allotted time off (and, in fact, enjoy a lot of flexibility on top of that), but they still push themselves hard.

    This doesn't make my life easier, of course, but I'll happily live with it given their work ethic is like gold dust. My point, though, is that making sure someone gets time to recharge their batteries is not an employee's problem; it's a shared problem.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • I don't know when the last time I've had two consecutive weeks off from work, except when I was between jobs or contracts. However, I still squeeze in about three weeks of vacation a year. When one of my deliverables has been deployed successfully to production, or if it's just stuck in QA, I'll request Friday and Monday off and make it a long weekend. I've still got the cell phone turned on, but it rarely rings when I'm on paid leave. When something needs my attention, I'll buckle down and stick with it until it's finished, but when things wind down, I expect my employer to loosen up when it comes to approving time off. I think most employers understand that's the way it is with good IT talent.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Very well said, Steve!

  • Well said Steve! I guess when all is said and done......I'd rather my family have fond memories of family vacations than remember I was never home and always at work.

  • I'd worked for over 10 years before I took more than a week vacation. After 12 days of my 2 week vac, I literally felt stress leave my body. I stopped exhibiting stress habits and I slept better. I am fortunate to work at a company that lets me take a 17-day vacation and not skip a beat. Worth every penny.

    A lot of parent's vac time gets nickled and dimed either because their kids are home from school or sick. 4-day weekend <> vacation.

  • I'm rather fortunate to have a job where taking time off is not a problem, though it's only during the slow part of the year (late spring, summer, early autumn). In the busy months, there is no time off except for major emergencies, and that goes for all employees. But at least I can make plans around it.

    Tony
    ------------------------------------
    Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

  • Amen.

    I have complained previously about being forced to take my time off at specific times but now I am on the verge of one of those "specific" times and about to enjoy the rest of the year off.

    I'm getting on a plane and leaving it all behind at least for a good solid week.

    My laptop will go along and there may be a call or two - but nothing so important that I need to be tethered to it the whole time.

    Very happy holidays to the whole community - I am going to try my best to stay away for a while 😀

  • I've got the personality to be able to shut this place off as soon as I walk out the door, for the most part. I try and do this every day, not just when I take vacation.:-) I've been back a little over a week now from my 18 1/2 days off in a row.:cool: I can honestly say I didn't think about work more than 6 times the whole time I was gone.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    we travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us
    Don't fear failure, fear regret.

  • I previously worked for a professional sports team and it was one of the greatest jobs of my life. I do enjoy taking time off, and my boss would try to accommodate vacation requests during the season, but there were days where I just had to be there for the coaches. As the team became more entrenched in technology, my off-season became shorter and shorter and my window for a week's vacation shortened. Everyone else's window also became shortened and we competed for that time.

    It became stressful trying to find time for a family vacation as I felt guilty for trying to extend my days off with my family. Much of that guilt arose from leaving my co-workers with a shortened window in which they could try and cram their vacations into. There was also the stress of work piling up, putting out the fires and more importantly being with the family while trying to do everything else.

    Having left the organization, my work time is now as close to being regular as it ever will be. I get time off when needed or requested. I find that time off much more relaxing now that my days off aren't so hard to obtain and also knowing that if I need another one or two or three... I can get them without restriction.

    My family and I recently took a short family vacation and it was all family time. I regret that I missed that earlier in life, but I know I won't miss out on that anymore!

  • At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

    My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!

  • Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)


    At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

    My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!

    Sounds like my old job.

    Tony
    ------------------------------------
    Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

  • Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)


    At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

    My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!

    It's posts like that which remind me of my good fortune.

    In the UK, four weeks is the norm, and the flexible benefits package in the company where I work allows us to buy extra to take it up to a maximum of six weeks per year. That aside, holiday is not a privilege; it's a contractual right. Once again, in the UK, the scenario Jim's post outlines would very likely have constituted harrassment and landed the company in court.

    From my point of view, if a company cannot do without someone long enough for them to take a holiday, they have a critical single point of failure and that person's manager isn't doing their job properly.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • majorbloodnock (12/19/2013)


    Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)


    At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

    My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!

    It's posts like that which remind me of my good fortune.

    In the UK, four weeks is the norm, and the flexible benefits package in the company where I work allows us to buy extra to take it up to a maximum of six weeks per year. That aside, holiday is not a privilege; it's a contractual right. Once again, in the UK, the scenario Jim's post outlines would very likely have constituted harrassment and landed the company in court.

    From my point of view, if a company cannot do without someone long enough for them to take a holiday, they have a critical single point of failure and that person's manager isn't doing their job properly.

    "Four weeks is the norm"? No matter if you've been there a year or 20 years?

    They seem to have the right idea about this in the UK. I'm going to have to check out the job market over there.:-)

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    we travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us
    Don't fear failure, fear regret.

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