I love my job. I have the opportunity to explore topics I’m passionate about; I get to teach entire courses on subjects I talk about on a regular basis; And I get to volunteer and serve communities I’m already committed to helping. Yet, I still have bad days of work (like the rest of us). Days where I feel like I’m pulling more than my share of the load, have too many projects going on, or am overwhelmed because no one understands the pressures I’m under. Sound familiar???
Despite my passion for leadership development and service…I still think about and LOVE taking vacation. I spend hours daydreaming about the excursions we should do, or the restaurants we should visit, or the sites we should see! What I don't do is talk about vacation at work.
For some reason, taking “vacation” is still somewhat taboo…a topic that if we take too much of it, we fear being perceived as lazy. Or not fully committed to our work. We feel the need to justify why a vacation is needed! That’s messed up.
Consider this—we spend, on average, some 90,000 hours of our life working—or roughly a 1/3rd of our existence—at work. Combine that with the hours we spend sleeping and maintaining our homes and families, and it’s incredible the low percentage of hours we live devoted to our well-being.
"We spend, on average, some 90,000 hours of our life working"
At a minimum, we should encourage others and celebrate when our colleagues take vacation. We work too hard to NOT support one another. Regardless of our job title and level of responsibility, work will always be there. And no organization should ever fail because one associate takes vacation.
I am excited for my upcoming vacation to Mexico and will finally be using my out-of-office autoreply (as soon as I learn how to set it up). I started joking that my goal for this vacation was to return “very tan plus ten (pounds)”. I've never had a goal for vacation but like the idea. What are your goal(s) for vacation? Read a book? Try three new foods? Sleep in? Maybe linking goals with our trips helps to remind us what vacation is about—taking care of ourselves.
If you don’t have a vacation scheduled—even a staycation—I encourage you to schedule one. Vacation give us something to look forward to during those tough days at work. Allow yourself to be excited and celebrate those around you who also have an upcoming vacation.
By taking vacation, we improve our mental health, focus on ourselves, and return refreshed for work. At the same time, by supporting our colleagues’ upcoming vacation, we remind them that we care about their mental health, wellbeing, and continued efforts to improve our workplace.
We’re in this together.