Monday, July 19, 2010

Go On Vacation

I’m getting ready to head out on vacation Friday. Since we’ll be in Canada, I’m looking forward to being unplugged for a week. While I’ll probably fire up an internet connection in our condo, I won’t pay for data roaming, so I won’t be checking my email and such several times an hour throughout the day like usual.

I love my iPhone. I’ve been a smartphone user from their inception; Palms and Blackberries were great, but the iPhone is the best. There is certainly a bit of a tethering that comes with these great tools… but I think it is more than mere rationalization when I say that I can make the most of my evenings and weekends by knowing what is going on through my iPhone and knowing that I can be reached if someone needs me. But I also know that I’ll get the most out of this week of vacation by being unplugged. I get about the business of truly relaxing, faster and better, when I am untethered from my email.

Since I know that I’ll be mostly unplugged next week, I’m working harder than usual to tie up loose ends and letting folk know that I really do not want to be bothered unless there is truly an emergency. I probably ought to always work this hard to prepare for vacation. It could be that I’ve just gotten a little lazy due to the convenience of tools like the iPhone… but it could be something deeper, including:

Inflated Self Importance – Sometimes I get the feeling that folk purposefully allow emergencies to pop up that they are uniquely suited to fix. They remind themselves, and all those around them, that they really are important because only they can solve these kinds of emergencies. I’ve occasionally allowed vacations to be interrupted by emergencies; in every case, when I’ve looked back, I’ve realized that it really didn’t qualify as an emergency. While I may have had a tiny rush knowing that I was just that important to have to take that call, write that email, or pick up that FedEx… it has never really been worth it. I suppose that the President of the United States really must be on call with all the trappings (staff, Air Force One, and all), but seriously… I’m just not that big of a deal… not even close.

Personal Insecurity – What if one were to be really gone and nobody noticed? Sometimes I wonder if I keep myself in the middle of things when I should be on vacation just to be sure that I really am in the middle of things.

Insecurity of Staff – It seems that some folk can’t go on vacation because their coworkers, colleagues, and staff are paralyzed without them. Sometimes folk can’t function (not enough perspective, authority, knowledge, etc.) and other times they won’t function because they won’t risk making a mistake, fearing that the vacationing one will come back and blow a gasket.

Disorganization – Finally, sometimes it is just plain old lack of organization. We can’t really go on vacation because we never sufficiently button things up. The "emergencies" that we allow to crowd in our vacation could simply be result of our own lack of work and organization.

We have vacation policies in place, not just because we must, but because it is good for business. People need to take a break, a sabbath to wind down and be rejuvenated. As CFO, I see that vacation liability as an actual expense on our budgets, a pretty big expense, and I think it is worth every penny. When I don’t really go on vacation, in a very real way I’m ripping off the company; since they are really paying for vacation, I owe it to them to give them the best vacation I can for their money.

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