If you read my posting about the “Ongoing Vacation Quandary,” then you know that I tried again this year to make a conscious decision not to work during my summer vacation. I often come back to the subject of vacation around this time, because I believe it’s an important work life subject that doesn’t get enough attention given how critical disconnecting and recharging is to our well-being. And it’s just too hard to do in our hyper-connected, 24/7 world, at least for me.
As promised, I’m going to rate how I did implementing my vacation plan this year. I’m giving myself a B.
My original intention was to check email every other day at the end of the day, and only respond to a work issue if someone on my team contacted me directly. Otherwise, no work.
It helped that the island off the coast of Washington State on which we stayed didn’t have very good cellular reception. If I stood at the right place on my deck I could get emails and calls, but it wasn’t consistent or easy. This imposed some external limits on the amount of work I could do. However, I did end up dealing with one work-related issue that had to be addressed. This required two phone calls and about three rounds of emails.
While it sounds like I stuck relatively close to my plan, I took away credit because although I didn’t do that much work, I still talked about it more than I wanted to. Also, the lack of cellular reception helped limit my work and I want to be able to learn to say “no” on my own. So, I get a B. I will keep trying!
Thankfully, there are other individuals and organizations keeping the vacation quandary on the radar screen. Working Mother just published the results of an online survey of their readers which found (source: Bob Drago of Penn State University):
“What percentage of your allotted vacation days did you take in 2007?”
202 women said they took 100% of their time off. (54%)
78 women said they took 75% of their vacation days. (21%)
36 women said they took 50% of them. (10%)
57 women said they took only 25% of their allotted time. (15%)
Obviously, I’m not the only person who struggles with this, although my issue isn’t taking vacation. It’s not working while on vacation. How did you do this year with your summer vacation? Did you take one? If you did, did you work during your vacation? Did you create a plan in advance? I’d love to hear what grade you gave yourself!