Take Your Vacation. Obama Does.

Avatar of James E. Evans, MISM, CSM
James E. Evans, MISM, CSM


Greetings all. Question. How many times have you cancelled, postponed or shorten your vacation for the job? I’ve certainly done it. I would dare to say that any career oriented model such as yourself have done it too. Have you noticed that President Obama takes his vacation no matter what?

Hmmm. I think there is a quality-of-life message here don’t you?

Taking a vacation, in my opinion, is a healthy way to recharge the battery and stay connected to those near and dear. This article that tends to agree as well. Now we all can’t take a nice jaunt to the Blue Heron but, I do think its important that we stop and smell the flowers. Granted, there will be times where we will need to “take one for the team” but these should be the exception; not the norm.

Take Your Vacation. You deserve it. Agree? Disagree?

Just my thoughts. What are yours?

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Stephanie Slade

On the one hand, we don’t all have the luxury of traveling to our vacation destinations on a private jet complete with a working office, or summoning foreign dignitaries to us in the even that they’re needed, or any of the other things that allow a POTUS to head out on vacation without worrying he might miss something important. On the other hand, I agree completely that vacations are important. Burnout happens and you’re the only one in a position to look out for your own mental and physical health.

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Peter Sperry

The best endorsement for vactions came from a campaing manager I worked for back in the 80s. You would think election campaigns which typicaly run 24/7 until November would be the last place for vacations. Nevertheless, Karl made a point of insisting each staffer and the candidate take a week in August before the Labor Day kick off. He would actually collect office keys and bar the staffer from the office and rigerously screen thier calls during their scheduled week off. He would send the candidate out of state and prohibit any contact from the staff or press until they returned. Our campaigns consistently had higher energy levels down the stretch and produced better results including winning several close races because the candidate blew away the opposition in late stage debates. Its called RE-creation for a reason.

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James E. Evans, MISM, CSM

@Stephanie

……And there lies the proverbial takeaway. We are “the only one in a position to look out for your own mental and physical health.”

  • How we do it is another story.
  • It’s just important that we do it.
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Alicia Mazzara

I recently spoke to a friend whose office closes for 1 week every August. It’s a slow month, and she said it was a good way to “force” people to take a vacation. Vacations are absolutely worth it for the re-charge, but I think we’ve all felt the pressure to forgo or shorten our vacation for fear of not looking like a team player.

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James E. Evans, MISM, CSM

@Alicia

That is a valid concern (fear of not looking like a team player). I guess timing is everything. It’s just that I know some that won’t take a vacation until they absolutely have to. We have a cap on how much vacation time (annual leave) you can accumulate before “use it or lose it” kicks in. That usually when they will, reluctantly, take a vacation. Thanks – James.

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Ed Albetski

Both my wife and I have had planned leave cut short by deadlines or emergency projects. But we had to be in our offices to effectively do our jobs. There were times when we could take leave and times when we couldn’t. The President though is still President wherever he is.

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Rita Hartman

When you skip your very needed and deserved time off all the following suffer: You, your family, and yes your co-workers. Your team might need you but they need you as a refreshed and energized team player not a stressed or burned out contributor. Take the vacation or time off even if you just stay around your house (staycation) and relax.

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Avatar Image Megan Dotson

I rarely have vacation time left at the end of the year. If I can’t get away to travel to this city or that country, visit with friends/family or attend a few Gator football games I don’t know how the rest of my psyche would function.

I think the biggest problem with taking vacation is the mindset our society currently holds…If you take a vacation you appear to be a slacker, someone who doesn’t care about their work or [insert your set-back here]. How can we change this perception to be…”I’m taking a vacation and don’t need an excuse. I will come back energized, excited and full of new innovative ideas and I am not burnt out but eager to perform.”

Also, be sure you take a few REAL vacations every year — which means no email checking, no phone calls…pure vacation focus and no work distractions. I took my first real vacation last year and it’s amazing how much more enjoyable it was and how I actually missed work upon its completion.

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Shannon Donelson

I’ve found that I like taking just a few days away. That way I feel refreshed, but not bogged down with catch-up work when I get back. I tend to make my vacations into long weekends. Fly out on a Thursday night to your destination, take Friday and a Monday and you have just given yourself a 4 day break.

But I will agree, so many people get a bunch of days off, but don’t feel as if they can use them! I have a friend that took her first vacation in two years at the same company. That is INSANE.

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Melissa McKinley

Never. Work time is work time, family time is family time. I know there are countless employees in Government who have vacation “overages” – I supervise some of these people and we have to goad them into taking their vacation because it considered a liability. I just say “take your vacation, life is short.” Unless you are on the verge of curing cancer or something, there is nothing so pressing at work that it won’t still be there when you get back…. honest.

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Brett de Boisserre

For the first time in 6 years I turned off my (work) Blackberry during a week off at the beach. I let my backup take the responsibility and trusted them. It was the greatest thing in a long time to not hear that device vibrating and then feeling that I needed to check it. I think that I gained additional trust from my coworker who filled in as well.

A win-win.

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Susan Womack

I have done the same thing.been here three years and never thought about putting in for a vacation. I finally did this year, I put in for two weeks. I was so worried something would happen I dropped it down to one week. As if that’s not enough, before I took off, I told them I wasn’t going anywhere so if they needed me just call. I wish I could have taken off and visited my family. Obama my have taken a vacation but he doesn’t have to worry about someone replacing him while he’s gone. I agree this is a wonderful way to recharge and/or prevent a burnout, but I know I make more money when I work than I do on vacation, and if I’m working I know my job will be there tomorrow.

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Brett de Boisserre

@Susan

A two week vacation in my job wouldn’t fly either! In that case, the “crackberry” would be hanging off of my shirt collar. I couldn’t handle 2 weeks of email, especially working in IT. Maybe 5 days off, 1 telework day, then 5 more days off :) Aircards work great on the beach! Just cover your laptop with Saran Wrap and poke holes into laptop’s fan location…

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Susan Womack

No, they did not call, however I felt uncomfortable when I went back. Working in security I don’t think you can stay on top of things and take time off. It’s a terrible feeling to know you could really miss something important, you know?

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James E. Evans, MISM, CSM

@Susan

Yes I can relate (Re: terrible feeling). Keep in mind the businesses have developed a “strictly business nothing personal” approach now. If something unforeseen should happen (you could not work); the business would continue. I can guarantee you that. More than likely they would;

  • Bump somebody else up into your position
  • Divvy your job up among the remaining staff until someone is trained.
  • Hire someone to cover your responsibilities
  • Responsible management may need to do your job until they can get someone ramped up.

The takeaway is; the business will continue.

It’s important that you manage your own business as well. That business is the one called Susan Womack. I’m glad that you took the week off.

I look forward to hearing that you took another one in the future!! Keep me posted. Best regards – James.

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Brett de Boisserre

We have contingency plans for technology failures. The business of incarceration and rehabilitation will go on whether or not the local government’s network is down, however. That is a great point. The business will go on.

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