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#MicroblogMondays 147: Vacation Anxiety

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This article is about spring break (vs. summer break) AND it’s about millennials, but other than those two facts, it totally resonated with me: I have a problem taking off of work.

It isn’t shame.  Or guilt — I don’t feel guilt over saying that I need time off.  But I do have trouble figuring out how to take off so that no one else is inconvenienced and all the work gets done.  Sometimes I can work ahead or catch up after I’m back.  But I usually end up checking in at least twice a day while I’m away, answering questions so other people can complete tasks.

This isn’t a problem because I don’t mind doing it.  It’s me setting the expectation rather than having someone else tell me how things are going to be.  And I do it both because I appreciate it when other people check in while they’re away and answer my questions, plus it makes returning to work a little less stressful at the end of the vacation.

Do you fully check out when you’re on vacation, or do you still check in with work (if you work) while you’re away?


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1. Inexplicably Missing 10. Isabelle 19. Virg� nia
2. Circle of Daydreams 11. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 20. Turia
3. Modern Gypsy 12. Raven 21. Jess
4. Mali (A Separate Life) 13. Counting Pink Lines 22. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
5. Mali (No Kidding) 14. Lori @Laughing IS Conceivable 23. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
6. Jivf 15. Geochick 24. Laughing IS Conceivable 2
7. Persnickety 16. Journeywoman
8. A Focused Journey 17. Empty Arms, Broken Heart
9. Jenn P 18. Failing at Haiku


1 Linda @ Circle of Daydreams { 06.19.17 at 5:28 am }

I’m a teacher, so my holidays are always at the same time each year, and always when there’s heaps of kids around on holiday too!! I rarely shut off from work on holiday as there’s always something to think about or preparation I should be doing. I’d so love to have the whole Summer off like American teachers and students!!

2 Inexplicably Missing { 06.19.17 at 5:39 am }

I can check out when it comes to holidays, and scheduled time away, but I really hate having unplanned time off i.e. getting sick! My work involves helping people, so I do not like to let them down or cancel on them. Fortunately, I look after myself and I have not been sick with a cold or anything requiring a day off for I think the last 3 years! Unfortunately, fertility treatments are a bit disruptive since the days you need off can’t always be timed with a lot of notice 🙁

3 Modern Gypsy { 06.19.17 at 5:47 am }

I prefer too to check out fully. But then, I know that the best most important tasks will be looked after by my colleagues while I’m out, which does make it easier to switch off, I suppose!

4 Modern Gypsy { 06.19.17 at 5:48 am }

I prefer to check out fully. But then, I know that the most important tasks will be looked after by my colleagues while I’m out, which does make it easier to switch off, I suppose!

5 Mali { 06.19.17 at 6:33 am }

Checking out fully, or you don’t get the full benefit of your holiday/vacation. Preparation is the key – warning people in advance, deferring non-urgent tasks, getting others to help, so you know nothing will fall through the cracks, and you can relax.

Though it seems to me that in the US you all have a slightly different attitude towards time of than we do …

6 a { 06.19.17 at 8:32 am }

I check out completely. On rare occasion, I might check my voice mail if I’m expecting a call. I usually try to wrap up anything that might generate questions before I leave. But I can’t bring work home, so I have learned to leave it all there when I’m not going to be there.

7 Jivf { 06.19.17 at 8:34 am }

I’m not yet at my career where my complete absence will make or break the office, so when I’m out I don’t check in. That said, I don’t like taking off because I like my job and have some fomo when I’m out!

8 Persnickety { 06.19.17 at 8:40 am }

Check out completely. It can be hard, maybe checking emails the first day. I have had to learn to take the email option off my iPad/phone because I would get meeting invites for things I was not there for.

9 Diane { 06.19.17 at 8:47 am }

Check out completely! Easy to do as I’m teacher so everyone else is also on vacation. I don’t check my email until the night before returning to work, sometimes not until that morning. During the summer it’s harder to check out completely as teachers are expected to come in and work on things in preparation for fall.

10 torthuil { 06.19.17 at 8:51 am }

Doesn’t apply to me for vacations, as I teach so when I have vacation so does everyone else. But I certainly am a bit anxious when I take time off for other reasons. I’ve gotten better with practice though. The world doesn’t stop turning because I’m not there. It’s a good thing to remember. I don’t even have to leave sub plans that are a novel (nobody probably reads them anyway)

11 loribeth { 06.19.17 at 9:43 am }

I would check out completely. This was, admittedly, easier for me to do, since I did not have a work-issued cellphone & felt no obligation to check in — although I didn’t notice too many of my bosses or coworkers checking while they were on vacation either, unless they really, really had to. I always did leave detailed lists outlining the status of all my projects, and contact info in case of an emergency, but it was never used, thankfully.

12 Isabelle { 06.19.17 at 9:50 am }

I don’t bring work home, and I don’t bring work to my vacation. I am a speech therapist, so I can’t see my clients when I am not at work. That makes it a lot easier for me to just check out.

13 Raven { 06.19.17 at 10:13 am }

I think it completely depends on your line of work. Some people have jobs where you come in for your shift, do your work, and you go home – and while you’re gone, someone else will do your work. It’s easier to take time off and completely check out, because you know someone else is doing the work you would be doing. Other people (myself included) have a job where you are the only one who does it – so any absence at all means work is piling up. I don’t feel guilty when I take vacations, but I absolutely worry about the pile I will come back to when I return. I almost always run through my emails the night before I come back to work – it really helps me to wrap my head around what is waiting for me so when I get in the next day, I can jump right into action rather than spending half the day going through emails and messages.

14 Working mom of 2 { 06.19.17 at 10:37 am }

I really struggle with this. Over the past few years it got to the point where I was checking email on vacation. And it’s not just me–I’m on several list serves for work so I see a number of out of office replies. People now feel they have to explicitly state whether they’ll have access/be checking. How did it come to this? It used to be if you were out you were out. And I find I often get a real reply even from people who say they’re not checking–which means they are. Recently I’ve tried real hard to not check at all on vacation. And I usually check email/participate on calls when home with a sick kid. But recently one of my kids was very sick and I was home several days and hadn’t read certain emails to prepare for a call so I was like F it I’m not calling. I let the team know and they (outside agencies) were trying to track me down, like it was unheard of. Wtf.

15 Chris { 06.19.17 at 12:47 pm }

I rarely am even ABLE to take vacation. I’m currently, once again at my maximum accrual limit and will have to take a half day just to curtail that. But, the reality is, no don’t get to check out. I work from home and my husband says it’s a boundary issue, but the fact is when I’m out there’s no one to cover for me……

16 Counting Pink Lines { 06.19.17 at 12:52 pm }

Most of my work is so solitary that is basically doesn’t make a difference to anyone else. But even then, it’s been rare that I’ve checked out completely. Maybe my honeymoon? Ooh and there was a vacay somewhere in there when I didn’t take my laptop (actually that was a little anxiety inducing).

17 Lori Shandle-Fox { 06.19.17 at 1:02 pm }

When I worked at a “regular” job, a coworker of mine used to say that when she was on vacation she would go out of her way not to drive past the job. That’s how I felt. Of course it depends on your job. I guess maybe some require minimum checking in etc. but then occasionally you hear about some high powered people who don’t even have cell phones. A vacation’s not a vacation if you’re still connected to them.

18 Geochick { 06.19.17 at 1:27 pm }

I check out. This upcoming vacation, however, will be the first time in my new position that I will attempt to fully check out and leave my phone at home. I did an experiment one day recently where I took a Friday off, set my out of office to say I’m not checking emails or voicemail and I still ended up with 4 voicemails on my cell phone asking fire drill questions. Ugh. I think the expectation has to be set though that I mean it when I say I won’t check in.

19 Ana { 06.19.17 at 2:41 pm }

I really try to check out completely, though I do sometimes go through my emails. Most people aactually do check and respond to emails when away, which makes it hard to not feel bad when I don’t.

20 Sharon { 06.19.17 at 3:10 pm }

I would love to fully check out when I am on vacation (which is rare, btw), but it’s difficult to do in my line of work (I’m a litigation attorney). It is one of the few things I miss about my previous career: I was a registered nurse in hospitals, and with that job, when I was not at work, someone else was literally doing my exact same job, so I never had to worry about work during my time off.

I think that being able to completely disconnect is a very good thing for one’s mental health, but speaking as someone who feels the need to at least check emails a few times a day while she is out of the office, I can understand why you do what you do.

21 Journeywoman { 06.19.17 at 3:44 pm }

When I worked at a corporation I totally checked out for vacations. To be honest I wonder if that contributed to my name being on the layoff list. But I’m not sorry.

22 Virginia { 06.19.17 at 6:47 pm }

I fully check out, unless there is something urgent that nobody else can do. I learnt my lesson around 2 years ago when I was just at home and every day I would get one or two phonecalls from work because there were problems. So I felt like I was working from home. And I came back to work almost as tired as before the vacation

23 Turia { 06.19.17 at 9:00 pm }

I think it depends a lot on your line of work. When I was teaching high school in Australia my vacation had to fall during school holidays. I never checked out during the shorter breaks between terms- I would always have marking or class prep to do- but I would check out entirely for a least a couple of weeks between school years.

Now that I’m in academia it’s almost impossible to check out completely because even if you’re not actively teaching or doing research work stuff just seems to creep in. Q. is really bad with this. We talk about it a lot- the good thing about academia is you have a lot of flexibility with how you use your time. The bad thing is your work is always with you.

24 Jess { 06.19.17 at 9:35 pm }

I am fortunate in that our longest vacations take place over school breaks, when I don’t have anything I have to do for work. I do not take vacations over February break for this reason, because I am often eyeball-deep in paperwork for IEP meetings and wouldn’t be able to relax. But for Christmas or summer vacations? I’m all in on relaxing. I got a new phone in December and I haven’t put my school email on it yet. It’s kind of glorious to have that be a school-laptop-only thing, and not trail me everywhere I go. Now Bryce, he has a real hard time unplugging and feels incredibly guilty about taking vacation, which is why he likes to go to places where there is no cell service (sadly dwindling) so he can truly unplug. Otherwise, too much guilt.

25 Chandra Lynn { 06.19.17 at 10:30 pm }

I’m a professor. There’s no shutting out work completely–ever, it seems. But I don’t check phone messages and check email only once a week, responding only when absolutely necessary. The Universities I’ve worked for have been generally respectful of the dates of our contracts. However, there’s still research, writing, and preparation for the coming semester, so as I always say, “I’m never off.” But in those moments when I check out completely, there’s no guilt. I work too hard when I’m NOT on vacation, as much as 80 hours some weeks. I earn those moments of mental and physical rest.

26 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 06.20.17 at 2:44 am }

Since I’m self-employed, I used to try to get everything done before I left and make sure projects were at a point where I wouldn’t have to check in until I got back. But I’ve since found it less stressful to just check email and voicemail periodically during the trip and deal with things then rather than to try to ensure beforehand there will be nothing to check in on.

27 Ashley { 06.20.17 at 9:31 am }

Sadly, I don’t often get more than an extended weekend for a staycation. But, I do totally check out when I leave work. I don’t have the kind of job that needs attention 24/7 and, as others have mentioned, my work that needs to get done when I’m gone is covered by other co-workers. I honestly don’t think I could handle being a single parent AND having to constantly check-in with work. I don’t envision myself being able to keep all those balls in the air…..

28 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.25.17 at 3:20 pm }

I still check in. My challenge is to then not get sucked in. I’m working to develop boundaries with that.

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