By Sunny Simon
Stopping for a moment to put down my summer beach read and rest my eyes, I scanned the activity around the resort’s Olympic sized pool. Some inhabitants stretched out on the luxurious beach chairs were contently soaking up the sun, others, like me, engaged in light reading. I sighed observing about a third of the vacationers intently working their notebooks and cell phones. As I strolled to the Tiki Bar for an icy Mojito, it did not surprise me to catch snippets of business related conversations.
Full disclosure, in the past I have been guilty of checking my work voice mails and emails, but at some point wised-up. I began to wonder if my action was ego-driven. Did I think the team back home couldn’t exist without me? Or, was I insecure? Perhaps I thought I was being left out of important decisions. After calling in and retrieving news from the office it took me at least an hour to stop thinking about the work piling up on my desk. To make matters worse, my husband keyed in on my distraction and sooner or later delivered his “why are we on vacation if you are going to engage the office from afar speech.” Yep…busted!
Taking 15 minutes a day to touch base with the office doesn’t sound horribly harmful, but beware, it’s a trap. The time you spend thinking about work after your innocent check-in does you in. Without a solid turn-off switch, thoughts of sales contracts, employee issues and the marketing proposal you need to write upon your return start bouncing around in your brain.
A real vacation occurs when you leave an “out of the office” message on your voice mail greeting and email. No, it’s not impossible. Crazy as it sounds you can convince yourself that you are not required to check in. Your only job on vacation is simply to take a break from work pressures and have fun. The whole idea of taking time off is to return to work refreshed and recharged.
If you want the ultimate benefit of a vacation from work, go off the grid. Leave your cell phone at home. Want to capture the beauty of that exotic place you dreamt of while sitting in your cubicle pinning for an escape, then bring a camera. If you are addicted to informing all your Facebook friends of your vacation you can post when you return. Give it a try. Keep your time away from the office sacred. You’ll be glad you did!
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog www.lifeonthesunnyside.net.