What a Vacation!

In the military it is called “R and R”; Rest and Relaxation. In the corporate world we take vacation. This is the time that we remove ourselves from work to travel, spend time with family and rejuvenate ourselves. In order to take a week long vacation, one must take steps to prepare for their absence in the workplace. The preparation the week before a vacation is typically quite stressful and amounts to a significant amount of extra work. Meetings must be rescheduled until after your return, any items due during the vacation week must be prepared in advance, and coverage for responsibilities must be delegated.
Similarly, the week after vacation is exceptionally arduous. One must catch up on the voice mail box that filled the first day of your absence, weed through the mountain of email, attend all the rescheduled meetings, and take care of all the issues that everyone “put on hold until your return.” This week is arguably one of the most stressful in one’s calendar. When the actual work is tallied, you realize that you didn’t actually do any less work, but rather just pushed it to the two weeks abutting the week off.

Ah, but at least you had a relaxing vacation. It all started by bolting from work to pick up the family and sweep them off to the airport where your excited crew waited patiently through check in lines, security lines, food court lines, boarding lines and finally settled in to the sardine can seating in the back of the plane. Now, finally you can relax. Well, not exactly; the kid in front of you slams his seat back into your vulnerable knee caps and the rather large gentleman next to you is oozing into your seat. Soon, you arrive at your destination, where your wait for checked luggage ends up in the customer service line to describe your missing bag (who, by the way, signs up for that job?). Now it is off to the rental car line, a frustrating drive in the never-been-in-before city, and finally to the check in desk in the hotel. Whew. Now vacation can begin! Well, it is up early and off to the attraction, along with half of the vacationers in North America. Guess what?...More lines! The pattern repeats, long line, short ride, quick dart to the next long line, then long wait in line. Get in a bite to eat (of course there is a long line for that too). You are exhausted at the end of the day. Good news!...Tomorrow you can do it again! The pattern goes all week, and then you get to experience the all too familiar joy of travel on our way back home. You arrive home late, get a few winks, and it is back to work to start to dig out. Makes you wonder why we do it.
In a weird, paradoxical way, it is these experiences that make the time together with our families memorable. I think it is worth it.