It’s a well-known, old saying that refers to the notion that one should not be totally consumed with work. What the saying doesn’t convey is that not only does “all work” make someone a bit dull, but it can also wear a person out, perpetuate stress, and not allow time for mental and physical decompression. We all need a break every now and then, right?
Well, a recent article on Yahoo! Finance caught my eye, in its discussion on whether or not people should actually take a 2 week vacation while employed. Yes, you might have the vacation time saved up, and you might get your manager’s approval. However, the question is: will it actually be viewed negatively, and used against you.
I think that smart organizations know that people need to have balance, and that includes taking time off to disengage from work. In the end, the idea is that balance will allow people to perform better in each area of life. Yes, that means work too.
However, what might seem to make sense to me or others who agree with this point of view might not resonate with every single company or manager within such companies. In other words, what we think is fair might not matter to someone else. It took me a while (maybe too long) to learn this, but we can’t automatically expect life to be “fair”. We can choose situations that fit our worldview, but not everyone will share it.
So, back to the question of whether or not to take a two week vacation. While it can be great to do so, I think that whether or not we actually take it should depend on the organization for which we each work. This is independent of official vacation policy, and whether or not you have the available time.
Even with available time and supervisor approval, there are probably some places where it would be acceptable or tolerable to take the vacation, and others where it will quietly be used against you. Maybe the next performance review will be impacted (indirectly, of course), or maybe you’ll get passed up for a promotion. Worse, perhaps you might be on a list to be let go on the next round of layoffs.
So while I advocate extended taking time off when possible to recharge and live life to its fullest, I also say that we need to be careful and fully understand the “unofficial” impact of taking a long vacation. As with anything, we can’t get something for nothing.
That being said, I’m looking forward to my next mini-vacation. And yes, this one will be safe J
My Questions for You:
Do you think that taking a long vacation from work can be detrimental to career success, or do you think that it’s important to take your time off no matter what?
Have you ever taken a vacation from work that was 2 weeks? What was the reaction at work to you doing it?