July, 2012 — Issue 149
It’s Important to Take a Vacation
If you’d like to take a vacation this summer but are concerned about a heavy workload or the prospect of falling behind, you should make every effort to get away from the office, even if it’s just for a short period. That’s the general advice from an article published by The New York Times, which points out that taking a vacation is usually like hitting the reset button — providing relief from stress, frustration and weariness that comes from any job and allowing you to become more creative and productive.
Careers columnist Eilene Zimmerman presents the following insight on the topic from the newspaper’s Q&A feature article, “Balancing a Vacation and a Busy Office”:
Q. You’d like to take some vacation time this summer, but you have a heavy workload and are worried about falling behind. Should you take time off anyway?
Generally, yes. Vacations are good for you, professionally and personally. The stress, frustration and weariness that come with any job, inevitably build over time. Because a balance between work and life is healthy, it’s important that work doesn’t always take precedence.
“We have day-to-day distractions and also longer-term, ongoing concerns that sap our creativity and efficiency, like paying the mortgage, career advancement and life goals,” said executive coach Jeffrey Cannon. Vacations help “sort through these and find solutions,” he told the newspaper.
Yet, the article does point out, that there are indeed times when it may be necessary, even if not ideal, to skip the vacation. Involvement in a time-sensitive project with a firm upcoming due date might be one example.
Q. You’ve decided that you want to go away for a week, but others in your department are also planning vacations. How can you get the week you want when others want it, too?
The further ahead you plan, the more likely you are to get your preferred week — though some workplaces have rules that grant time by seniority only.
Vacation planning is most effective when it’s a team effort, says Leslie A. Perlow, a professor of organizational behavior at Harvard Business School. Team planning should involve you, your colleagues, direct reports and your immediate manager working together to arrange vacation time. “The team commits to making it a shared responsibility,” said Perlow, author of “Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work.”
If there is an important event that you feel you must attend, like a wedding or a college graduation, map out how your responsibilities will be covered during that time and then propose that to your boss, she added.
Q. How can you enjoy your vacation without worrying about the office?
Make a plan that covers what you intend to finish before you leave, as well as tasks that will be handled each day you are gone and by whom, so everyone knows their responsibilities, said Dawn Fay of the staffing firm Robert Half International. Make sure to inform customers that you will be away and give them a contact person in your absence.
If you are a manager, your vacation could actually be a boon for high-potential employees in your group. By letting them take on some of your duties, Fay added, they become more visible to your manager and have a chance to show they can handle more responsibility.
Q. Is it O.K. to disconnect electronically while on vacation?
If you do work that’s time-sensitive or where people must be able to contact you, make yourself available for a certain period a few times during the week or for a short time frame each day, Fay said. After all, it won’t be much of a vacation if you’re tied to your cell phone.
If everyone in your firm is reachable around the clock, you have to decide how much you’re willing to buck that trend, said Carol Sladek, a work-life consulting leader at the human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt. Limiting accessibility to specific periods during your vacation may be the best compromise.
Q. How can you make the post-vacation transition back to work less stressful?
Before leaving, schedule a transition meeting for the morning you return with those who covered for you, Fay said. They can tell you what happened in your absence. If you work in a fast-paced environment, Sladek added, it may be wise to clear voice mail and e-mail the night before you return: “This way, you are ready to dive back in first thing in the morning.”
News from BLK
As the days heat up, the staff here at Berman Larson Kane is in the midst of some exciting change. After almost 12 years with the firm and heavily involved in the technical aspects as well as the bookkeeping responsibilities of our operations, Tonia Darragh will be moving into a recruiting role. Her many years of experience with the firm coupled with her prior experience in customer service, provide her with a solid foundation for success. As Tonia moves into her new role, Jan Lebron will put his education in accounting to use as he takes on the bookkeeping responsibilities. Given his educational path, this is a logical progression for Jan and he is looking forward to continuing his role in research while expanding his understanding of accounting. Congratulations to both Tonia and Jan!
On the employment front, we are seeing a steady increase in placements in the Temporary to Permanent sector and are hopeful that this is indicative of future hiring in all areas. We would also like to take a moment to share something we are very proud of at Berman Larson Kane. Our Free Job-Seeker Webinar series has just reached over 50,000 registrants over the course of the series!! While we would love to have 100% employment and, therefore, no need for the series; we are happy to be able to provide this service to all of the under-employed and unemployed and continue to be inspired by your stories of success and notes of thanks. August’s webinar, Staying Motivated During an Extended Job Search, has been scheduled and can be registered for on our website at www.jobsbl.com.