Vacations Aren't Just for Wimps

There's No Award for 15 Years Without a Day Off

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Marc Brownstein Marc Brownstein
I am getting ready to head off to Maine for a much-needed summer vacation. If you've never been Down East, it's a special part of the world this time of the year.

Yet as I pack my suitcase, I can't help but think of all of the people I know in advertising and public relations who pride themselves on not taking vacations. Or at least a real one that lasts more than a few days. It's true. I know a handful of colleagues who brag about their "workhorse" ethic. Some of these folks, who I believe are very talented but short-sighted, haven't been away in 15 years. They consider the rest of us who take our vacation time wimps. Can't handle 52 weeks a year without a break!

Well guess what: In an industry that has more than its fair share of awards shows, there's no award for "Most Years Without Taking a Vacation." And I'm guessing that most of you reading this take what you need each year to refresh and restore your brain and body. For those of you who don't, I want to offer a few thoughts on why you might want to re-consider:
  • We are in a uniquely creative business that taxes our gray matter every day for new, different, out-of-the-box ideas. It's kinda hard to be innovative -- or even useful -- when you are not well rested.

  • Stress. Think our business has its fair share? Nah. Well, imagine what a week by the lake would do for your blood pressure. When you come back to the agency, you'll be far more collaborative, not to mention cooperative.

  • Unplug. Fifteen years ago, we didn't have cellphones. Ten years ago, we didn't have hand-held devices that bring e-mail to wherever we are. Our bodies weren't meant to take the daily flow (OK, flood) of information, and requests for responses, that being digitally connected demands. You can put your cellphone and BlackBerry/wireless device away for a week or two. Your colleagues and clients will not only understand; they'll respect you even more.
Now go cancel that week of conference calls, briefings, client lunches and focus groups, and book a trip to someplace you can escape to. Even if it's a "StayCation" in your backyard. It's the time away from the office that matters.
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