It’s officially summer time and for many of us that means it’s also vacation time. The beach; the mountains; perhaps some international travel. After two years of a poor economy and "staycations," we Americans seem to be once again taking to the highways and the airways to kick back and get away from the office or from the plant and have family time or just time by ourselves. Well, maybe.
In this age of the electronic tether like the Blackberry, as well as our skittishness about being away from work and perhaps being seen as expendable, it’s harder than ever to get off the grid or to get our minds off what’s going on "back there." And unlike the Europeans, who have no compulsions about going on "holiday" for 4-5 weeks, many of us Americans seem to have trouble taking the time off that we have coming, because the office or workplace just cannot function well without us. Or so we think.
Is your typical vacation an R&R respite enabling you to recharge the batteries and spend some downtime with family or friends, or is your so-called vacation simply work away from work with a little more sun tan lotion?
Here’s a chance to gain some self-insight about your vacation work/life balance. Complete the following "Are you a workaholic?" vacation quiz about your typical vacation behaviors. And be honest – you have nothing to lose except your own self-esteem and your misguided notions about how important you are to the everyday world of global commerce.
1. Your idea of a great start to the vacation day is:
A. Grabbing a cup of strong coffee and the novel you are reading and being the first one poolside.
B. Grabbing a cup of strong coffee and the sales forecasts you had faxed to you and being the first one poolside.
2. You call the concierge in the hotel. You ask her:
A. To get you tickets to the new off-Broadway show.
B. How to set up a four-way conference call with the field offices.
3. You have tweeted 8 times to a colleague today about:
A. How beautiful the mountain hike was.
B. Some new thoughts you had about the Request for Proposal that’s due at the end of the week.
4. On vacation, your choice of a restaurant for dinner depends most on:
A. The catch-of-the-day and the wine list.
B. Whether the eatery has WI-FI capability so you can e-mail during the salad course.
5. The new iPhone "app" you recently downloaded that is getting the most use on this vacation is:
A. Four Star Restaurant Finder.
B. Spreadsheet On The Go.
6. You are looking forward to shooting 18 holes of golf today primarily because:
A. You’ve read about this great new designer course in the golf magazines.
B. You might be paired up with a vacationing finance guy with whom you could discuss your department’s budget variances while driving together in the cart.
7. While waiting for a table for dinner in the resort where you are staying, the words you long to hear are:
A. "We can seat you now, Mr. Smith."
B. "Your office just called and they’d like you to call back right away, Mr. Smith."
8. The really annoying thing about the Caribbean cruise you are on is:
A. How other people are hogging the deck chairs and saving them for their friends.
B. Your inability to get cell phone reception at sea.
9. It would put a huge damper on your vacation if:
A. There are long lines at the museums you plan to visit.
B. You misplace the charger for your Blackberry.
10. Which of the following silly mistakes are you likely to make at the restaurant on vacation?
A. You ordered an Australian cabernet thinking it was a merlot.
B. You asked the waiter for the agenda instead of the menu.
11. At night around the campfire, you entertain the kids by:
A. Telling them some very scary ghost stories.
B. Telling them about how the company’s strategic planning process works, which by the way, is also very scary.
12. One day in the vacation, you see some beautifully vivid shades of red and blue that you can’t wait to describe to the people back at the office. The source of those colors was:
A. The sunset on the ocean you saw while walking the beach with your spouse.
B. The PowerPoint presentation you have been working on for the quarterly operations review next week.
If you chose more "B’s" than "A’s," it’s pretty clear that you need a little more balance in your life. I hope you found this fun quiz to be insightful and actionable. And full disclosure here – I composed this while, yes, on vacation.
Mike Hoban is a senior consultant for a global talent management consulting firm
and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org