Friday, August 30, 2013

Vacation Time as a Joke

So the Labor Day weekend has approached, and guess what? I'm not doing anything. After discussing it with the kids this morning, I have decided to cancel my plans and just enjoy some down time at home. It sounds easy, but with all that needs to get down in my personal and professional lives, it will be quite the challenge. 

There are a few mental projects that must be tackled. There's that research project I've set my goals on, then the professional related skills I'm learning. Let's not forget the process improvement journey I wrote about several times, and the new database I must get accustomed to. 

On the private side: there's that little paint job that needs some attention, the garage that needs some updating, the old folders that need organizing, and the kids' new schedules that need to
be incorporated into my own. Did I mention the housework I have to catch up with and the closets that must be cleaned out? Unfortunately, I had been putting these two lists off for the ideal time, like the approaching three-day break. But I guarantee you, nothing will get done, not even the R&R I finally settled for. While I should be anxious, and maybe even angry, that three days will probably be a complete and utter loss, it's comforting knowing I won't be alone. 

There was a time when most professionals were able to divide their time between work and pleasure. It was back in those days before technology became so advanced and made the work process mobile. We finished as much as we could in the office and then ran home to enjoy the family and finish our domestic to-do list. Most times, we snuck in some private time as well. Such simple endeavors are a thing of the past now. 

We have access to advanced computer drives, and remote working; lap tops that allow us to carry the office desk top home. The clouds we used to enjoy on our backyard lounge chairs now carry our folders with them. Technology is equipped with iClouds that make file sharing easy with a click of a button, and most  companies  remain open round the clock for employees. We can't use the holidays to excuse unfinished work anymore. In fact, it's become quite difficult to use any excuse these days. The workplace has now become an extended part of our private lives. 

A new survey has found that most Americans have forgotten how to vacation. The results show that 82 percent of participants work during travel, while 18 percent have given up vacation time altogether. The latest figure also shows that many Americans use up only 12 out of 14 vacation days every year. I can empathize. I have been made to give up vacation time in the past. Although I was given the chance to rollover that unused time, it never happened. As work's demands has it, there's just never enough time. 

So will I ever get anything done this weekend? Probably not. That's because I have too much going on. Maybe work is not the problem. Maybe like most Americans, my priorities are. Maybe the solution then is to scale back on my own demands, but as it is right now I just want to finish as much as possible in the shortest amount of time feasible. The plan is that somewhere down the line I will reach that point in my life where life will naturally slow down. And I'll be sitting on the lounge chair looking up at soft floating clouds, rather than the data flowing type. 


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