Holiday Guilt (don’t worry, I don’t have any)

Anyone who knows me, or has read this blog fairly often will know holidays are pretty much my favourite thing. Coffee probably just about pips them to the post, but it’s a close run contest.

So why do many people feel holiday guilt? I’m not setting that up as a question I’m going to answer by delving into the depths of the human psyche. It is a genuine question on my part. Why do people look forward to, plan for, then go on holiday and take with them all the things they’ve been talking about escaping from?

I guarantee there are people here who’ve made a work call today, despite saying they weren’t going to. Or checked their emails, despite promising their significant others that this time they really wouldn’t.

I’m not talking people who own their own businesses and are the last say when it comes to making an emergency decision that could make or break the company. I’m not talking about people who are doing their dream job (such as writers or artists or crazy code writers) for whom a holiday is just a different way of experiencing the thing they love. I’m talking about middle management and mainly routine emails and calls.

My rule has always been that I will not take my work phone with me. From the moment my out of office goes on, all communication with my day job ceases. For the past 7 years, since the concept of being available 24 hours a day became something of a thing, it has been the one compromise I refuse to make. When I say that my employers can’t pay me enough, I mean it. The value of that time away is beyond monetary value for me.

So, no guilt. The world will go on without you. The job will actually be better if you return refreshed and capable, rather than only marginally less worn out, but with a tan. Research shows that taking a break will be of benefit in just about every way.

Ask yourself, if you can’t let go of the phone, what is really making you check your emails. Micro-management? Lack of faith in other people? Lack of faith that you’ve done what you were supposed to before you left and a ball has dropped? Or are you just addicted to the rush of getting email notifications, which is some bizarre chemical response the human brain has for some reason. Evolution needs to fix that one pretty damn quickly.

Whatever it is, give it up. Look around you. Take into account the things that matter most. Your family. Your friends. Your health, both physical and mental.

And for those of you getting all judgemental on me for taking the time out of my break to write this post, of course I scheduled it. Fingers crossed I’m actually lying in the sun now having a cocktail, watching the world go by.

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