A Vacation Sounds Great, but Is It Worth the Trouble?

Ask Brad: Yes, Take Them All, and Here's Why

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Here's my advice: take vacation days. Take all of your vacation days. And take them as vacation days.

Yes, I know it's a scandalous proposition. We work in a culture that reveres those who forgo vacation. But you do benefit from taking the time off, and if you are worried about taking the plunge, keep the following in mind.

Brad Karsh
Brad Karsh is president of JobBound, a career consulting company, and author of 'Confessions of a Recruiting Director.'

YOU'RE NOT NEARLY AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK YOU ARE

We tend to have an overly inflated opinion of our worth. Sure, you may be the driving force behind Hellmann's 2009 print repositioning for the new 64-ounce size (aka Project White Thunder), but I have a sneaky feeling Ogilvy North America will still be standing if you don't check your e-mail during the week you spend at Sandals Jamaica.

YOU'RE NOT MISSING MUCH

It's quite amazing how few e-mails are actually important once you get back. The average person gets about 200 e-mails a day, which means about 1,000 during your vacation. I promise you, of those 1,000 e-mails, about 975 or so will no longer be important or relevant once you return.

IT EMPOWERS THOSE WHO WORK FOR YOU

For managers, your trip is a chance for your team to shine. Give them some responsibility and see how they can handle it -- without you looking over their shoulders.

IT ALLOWS THOSE ABOVE YOU TO REALIZE HOW MUCH YOU DO

Feeling underappreciated? Take a vacation! Your bosses may be shocked at how much you handle in a typical week.

Hopefully, you're convinced to take the full complement of vacation days this year. So how can you make it as painless as possible for yourself and your company?

PLAN AHEAD

Let them know as soon as you have your vacation planned. And prepare for the time off. Compile a detailed list of what's cooking on your desk and take your boss through it. To help ease the burden on your return, see if you can delegate some of your work.

BE HONEST

Leave extended-absence e-mail and voicemail messages that indicate you won't be checking in. Let people know who can be contacted in an emergency.

CREATE A VACATION CULTURE

Bosses: Tell your employees not to check in. Employees: Pitch in for your co-workers and managers. Company leaders: Enforce vacation-day taking and lead by example.

One of my employees -- let's call her Courtney (because it's her real name) -- works crazy hours and is always pitching in. I didn't want her spending her nine-day vacation working, so I told her I'd pay her $100 not to check e-mail. I happily traded $100 for a well-rested, fresh and motivated employee.

So give vacation a shot. It's a great way to realize how unimportant you really are.
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