When I first moved to the UK from the US, there were a lot of really big shockers.
The cars were coming from different directions, there was nowhere to to find decent Mexican food (hey, it was 2011) and everyone had a beautiful and exotic accent. Another really big shocker was the amount of vacation…er, holiday…one could receive in the UK compared to the USA. Back in the states I only had 10 days plus some extra days that accrued over time. I was not used to having 25 days, so I ended up doing four day work weeks for two months. No one even blinked an eye.
Most of us are probably enjoying the middle of our summer holiday and it feels good to be away. However, how we go on holiday can have a major impact on our roles. I’ve returned from holiday only to find an angry boss who felt like I had missed something before I left. Often times when we are away we are seen as out of sight and out of mind. A colleague once told me that he had a boss who was an entrepreneur. The boss told him that if someone was away for more than 30 days, he knew the company did not need the role anymore. Yikes! So how can anyone be away and enjoy themselves without worrying about their career?
Things have changed for me since earlier in my career. Technology has made things a lot easier. Back in the day, I could not forward my phone calls to my mobile or check my work emails on an app. I can do that now. I have actually stopped putting my ‘out-of-office’ notice on at all when I leave for a holiday. And you know what? No one seems to notice. I am not left out of big issues or worrying whether something will pop up that will be terrible to deal with when I get back. Lots of people are taking a quieter approach to be away from the office. In fact, studies have shown that one of the tools men use to get ahead it to fake several hours of work by not making a big deal of things when they are out of the office.
Now, I am not saying that you should not enjoy your holiday. No one wants to be a slave to the office. What I am saying is that many people make too big a deal of being away only to come back feeling more tired and overwhelmed than when they left. By checking in and dealing with any emergencies that pop up, you know you are not coming back into a storm. The first time I did it, things were tough. I had a great day on holiday and then upon checking my email saw a terse email from someone. I was annoyed and felt so unhappy. After relaxing a bit more I was calm about the situation and thought of a good response. Everything was sorted and in the end, everything was ok. The best part was that when I got back to the office, everything was calm and there were no major issues to deal with.
Don’t give up your holidays, but consider doing a few small checks each day, you might come back more relaxed than you expect!
About the author
Joy Adams is a blogger and one of WATCs 2015 Rising Stars. She is a British-American businesswoman who has worked in both the public and private sectors in the US and UK. Joy currently serves on the Advisory Board for Vital Voices Europe, an organization dedicated to supporting and developing women leaders. She also writes a lifestyle blog for budding philanthropists and art collectors at Luxeher.com.
The Workher blog is all about taking your work life to the next level with practical tips and details on the latest news about pay, progression, and opportunities.