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Saturday, June 01, 2002

No vacation for many workers...even if they leave the office

This USA Today article gives some disturbing statistics regarding workers and their vacations. It seems that over 60% of workers will be checking in with the office at least once each week while they are gone. 25% say they will check in daily.

As a writer on career issues, I have seen the effects of overwork and pressure on the average worker. My only advice is to forget your office even exists while on vacation. You take a vacation to relieve the pressure of your day-to-day work, commune with your family (maybe for the first time all year), and recover enough energy to face the post-vacation landslide of email. Do not let the pressure of hyperactive companies prevent you from enjoying what little vacation time you have.

Checking in with your office on a daily basis almost guarantees that you will have a lousy vacation and feel even worse when you return to work. Any company that cannot function when staff members take a vacation has major problems. Staffing is not at appropriate levels, managers have become micro-managers and the company has lost respect for its workers, except in its ability to exploit them for every last minute of their waking hours. Remember, your company has a vested interest in preventing you from taking vacation time. It is up to you to protect your own needs.

Maybe you have convinced yourself that you don't have the time to take a vacation. This is a sure sign that you are in dire need of one. Even more, you might be better off to find a new job than stay at one that offers no hope of relief, even for 2 weeks out of 52.

If you are struggling with vacation decisions, check out this article. How to take a vacation is a Career Opportunities column I wrote back in May of 1999. It offers several hints on how to take a vacation that won't have you thinking more about work than fun.

Any company for which it is worth working will understand the importance of vacation time. They know that they may lose a few hours of your time, but they also know you will come back with a new attitude and perhaps, even more, great ideas to help them build their business.


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