I am in South Carolina with my daughters this week.
A couple of social media contacts have sent me messages. Are you on vacation?
Well, yes. As another friend said, this is my vacation-ish.
I am in a beautiful place, with people I love, away from home. And I am also working. It is one of the beautiful things about working virtually. I can do it from virtually anywhere. Virtually.
Since I am on vacation and also working, I’ve been thinking about the nature of vacations. What makes something a vacation?
My husband and I moved into a new home many years ago. We’d been living in the “city” of Jamestown, NY, where our driveway adjoined another. We moved to the “country,” less than ten miles away, to a home on three acres with a pond, woods, and a line of pine trees across that seemed to stretch for miles.
By crossing the road, we could walk in one hundred acres of state lands. We couldn’t see any neighbors at all.
After we had settled in, some friends stopped by. “Living here,” I told them, “feels like being on vacation all the time.”
The change in scenery, the peace, the quiet. Even though I went to work every day, I felt, for weeks, like I was on vacation.
Enough is different, here, that I feel like I am on vacation even though I am getting as much work done as I usually do.
I work early, then break for breakfast with the family and a long swim in the lake that adjoins my parents’ property.
I sit on the deck with my laptop, and connect by phone with my colleagues. In the late afternoon, I dive into the water again. Float on my back, swim out as far as I can, until my daughters look like specks on the shore.
And then, when my kids are tucked into bed, I work more.
And then I stop. I read a novel.
I am definitely on vacation.
And definitely working.
Tell me something! Is it possible to be on vacation and work at the same time? What feels like vacation to you? Does the phrase “working vacation” make sense to you?
Last summer, after my trip here, I wrote this post for Women of HR on this same topic. Check it out if you want.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
I try not to “work” in the traditional sense when I am on vacation and do sometimes get irritated with my husband when I find him on the lap top answering emails or checking orders. But I do know that if we each spend a small amount of time “working” while on vacation it will make the return to the office so much smoother.
But the way that I really enjoy working on vacation is finding those little moments that I can make a mental note of to use later when facilitating a course or mentoring a rising leader. Using examples of great customer service or even the not-so-great customer service experiences, watching children play and interact on the beach and tying that back to the way we, as leaders, need to play nice, or just stopping long enough to notice all of the wonderful things along the way in our busy lives.
So, I don’t go out of my way to have working vacations, but there always seems to be a few lessons along the way that I can pull out later when I return to the work world!
Enjoy those beautiful girls in that beautiful place…it will be all too soon that you will all be back in your scheduled mode.
A vacation means no editing, no rewriting, no blogging, no Facebook, no Twitter, no e-mail. Completely unplugging from working life as usual. And doing that is so, so necessary for me to recharge.
When my family took a vacation to Mexico last summer, I told the kids I wouldn’t be working at all. One daughter said, “No writing at all?”
I qualified that statement: I may brainstorm a scene or two–in longhand–while I’m sitting by the pool. But I wouldn’t go near a computer–that would qualify as work. She was okay with that.
If you love what you do and do what you love you don’t need a holiday. I am not there yet but it sounds to me like you are pretty close!
I’m pretty much where you are, Becky. My work is more my calling, my life. So I am always doing it. When I’m with my family (soon), I won’t be online much. But I hate getting behind, so a few minutes online each day means I don’t have to spend an entire day–or more–catching up.
For me, I always want to disconnect when I am on vacation. However, most of the time until the flight attendant asks me to put away my cell phone, I am on it.
However, I prefer work to be on my schedule on vacation. I feel like it is not a violation of my time for me to call in but do feel it is wrong for someone from the office to call me on vacation.
For me, being on vacation (or even “time off”) means two things. First, as others have said, being disconnected from work stuff. Second, is not “having” to do anything. I structure my days very tightly when I’m working. Vacation for me is the opposite.
Most people work for companies and no matter how much they love their job/company/workmates they need a total disconnect to truly recharge their internal batteries. Staying wired/tethered reduces/eliminates the much needed recharging.
Worse still are the millions of people who don’t take their vacations at all. They do a serious diservice to their families, companies and themselves. And the managers who allow, or worse, encourge, that are fools in the name of productivity.
I hear you, Becky! I love what I do, and also need to be on the deck, on the water or wherever, to recharge during the day and throughout the week. I often check in and even do a bit of work on vacation–my choice. It prevents stress just to keep my finger on the pulse, and clear out the email inbox a bit.