Oft ignored work rule: Do not contact a colleague when they’re on vacation – unless there is a true emergency.
One of the main reasons we take vacations is to escape work. All of it. From the grinding commute to the day-to-day nonsense. When I’m sitting poolside, sipping on a cocktail, the last thing I need is to hear from [insert name here] on anything work related. I don’t need the latest personnel gossip or a status report on current projects. It can all wait until I get back; trust me.
The funny thing is, the offender often thinks they are doing you a favor. They think it’s a ‘friendly’ gesture. After all, you guys joke about everything, all of the time, right? Mom once told me that a true friend will never tell you anything to make you upset. (Those conversations usually start out like, ‘Since we’re close I thought you should know…’)
Some of the problem falls on you. You must resist the urge to make contact. We’re given such a limited amount of vacation days, that it is imperative to enjoy them completely away from work – both mentally and physically. Occasionally it will be the vacationer making this error.
Allow this post to serve as a reminder.
Now what if you work with a close friend who you will likely speak to while you’re away? If you two truly are close, I would simply tell the person you need a clean break and would appreciate not hearing anything about the office while you’re away. Whether it’s good, bad, funny or seemingly benign – tell your buddy to shut his/her trapper. The tiniest item can conjure up emotion and stress about the job – and who needs that?
Remote e-mail access lends itself to habitual inbox checking (H.I.C.). Put down the crackberry and step away from the computer – a true vacation is a cold turkey clean break from all things work related.
– Leave everything at home that connects you to work
– Answer cell phone selectively (beware of text messages!)
– If you start to think/talk about work, stop yourself immediately
Going on vacation is more than an escape from work. You’re going to see interesting sites and spend time with family and friends.
Even for those of you out there who absolutely love what you do (congrats!), resetting back to zero is always a good idea. Too much of a good thing gets old – fast.
What about generous folks who want to buy souvenirs for co-workers. If you must tend to any work business while away, set aside a day and time to accomplish what you need to do. Above all, make a pact with yourself to enjoy yourself and save work for your return; you’ll be back in the saddle before you know it.
BTW: The same rules generally apply when you call in sick (whether it’s a legitimate day or not). If you’re off – you’re off!