Monday, October 17, 2011

The Time Off Conundrum

In January I started a new job. There are a lot of challenges with starting a new job including getting acclimated with the new company, the people you work with and making sure you have a handle on the position. One of the other challenges is to figure out when it is okay to start taking your vacation time. Many companies have vesting periods for that time, but once it vests, is it all right to just start taking it? Or is there really a "waiting period" until it's okay to start taking time off?

I'm taking my first vacation in a few days. I have been at the job for 9 months now so I figured that the initial "probation" period has started to lift and that I can freely take off without being seen as a "slacker". I am still a little nervous to go away without access to phone or e-mail on my BlackBerry or my computer. I'm always nervous that something will come in and a question will need to be answered that only I can provide the correct answer to. But in the end, I've come to the realization that I need to be able to take off this time and to unwind from the job with faith in my co-workers that they'll find a satisfactory way to answer those questions until I return.

But my "time off conundrum" isn't a new thing for me with a new job. In my last position, I too felt like taking time off was at times "taboo". In high school I had one teacher who never took one day off for any reason--he was the "Ironman". When I got into the working world, I saw people eating lunch at their desks and then the recession hit with may co-workers losing their jobs. In that climate, how could I possibly take a day off to enjoy myself knowing that not being there could end up costing me in the end?

Then I realized that the time off companies give you are for a reason. Sure, you don't have to take all of it. But those of us who work hard everyday deserve some time to ourselves away from the office. We deserve to turn off that Blackberry for a day or two and just relax. We deserve to unplug, recharge, and relax. In the end, we become healthier, happier, and more productive employees. And, realizing that, I've come to the realization that my time off later this week is not just for my own good, but it's for the good of the company as a whole. So while I still have some trepidation, I know that it's okay for me to take this time off and relax.

1 comment:

  1. Have a wonderful vacation, Andrew!


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