I told the manager for the project I’m leading that I had vacation scheduled but planned to bring my laptop. She very specifically told me not to bring my laptop on vacation. Because she hasn’t worked with me long, I’m pretty sure she thinks I am a workaholic who can’t unplug. I guess it’s an easy assumption since I did say I was going to bring my laptop on vacation with me, but that is far from the case. There were a few reasons why, in this case, I thought it would be a good idea to bring my laptop with me, but it wasn’t because I prefer work to leisure.
First, the project I’m leading kicked off a week before my vacation started. I didn’t like the timing, but since my vacation was due to my kids’ spring break it was immovable. Still, it felt like bad leadership to essentially say, “Okay, everyone, get to work (but I won’t be available for ten days).”
Second, because I would be gone for more than a week I thought that doing a little work here or there would help prevent me from having a big crush of work to do when I got back. There is nothing like coming back from a relaxing vacation only to instantly undo all the relaxation with a stressfully long to do list.
Lastly, I wanted to bring my laptop on vacation because it really is easy for me to unplug. Too easy. When I don’t do any work for a week or more I start to get used to not doing any work. And I like it. I like it a lot. I like it so much that the return to reality can be kind of depressing.
In the end I did not take my laptop on vacation. I did have my work phone, which allowed me to at least triage my inbox a bit. And I do have a big crush of work that I need to do on Monday. But I did enjoy not working for a week. Monday may be a rough reentry to my job, but it was worth it.
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