7 Times You Shouldn't Take a Vacation
The president is facing criticism for taking a couple of vacations with his family this month. And the first lady got an earful from the press for renting rooms at a five-star hotel in
The truth is that Americans probably need more -- not less -- vacation time. While many workers in
Even without a fear-inducing recession, Americans are so chary about cutting out of the office that career experts often chide them to take time away, refresh themselves, turn off the Blackberry, stop checking E-mail, and learn how to relax. "We are a work-identified nation, that's the badge we wear -- where we work, what we do -- that's how we define ourselves," says
First and foremost, experts say that it's critical to refresh yourself. Go ahead and schedule the vacation. And take a chunk of time, not just a couple of days here and there, Crowley says, noting that people don't seem to really relax until the second week. Second, let your leaders take a vacation. They won't lead effectively if they're overworked and on the verge of burnout.
But keep in mind that there are occasionally good reasons to stay in the office (and you'll probably feel less guilt while sunbathing if you follow some rough guidelines). Here are the rare times when a vacation may be the wrong call:
When the company is in crisis. A business leader who faces chronic, long-term troubles will eventually need time off while dealing with them, but shorter-term crises require immediate decision-making. "If a company's survival is at stake, you don't want your leader taking off for a leisurely vacation," Crowley says. Small business owners in the Gulf weren't likely taking long personal trips in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
When you haven't planned ahead. "An inappropriate time for a vacation is when you haven't cleared it with your supervisor or with management well in advance so that plans can be made for your absence," says
When you're in the middle of a project. Be careful when you're in the thick of a project, or your best client is in a difficult situation, says
Employees need to predict and pay attention to important deadlines well ahead of time, says
When it's the busiest season for your company. Many businesses are cyclical -- think accounting firms, landscaping contractors, wedding planners -- and employees should take the seasonal fluctuations into account when planning trips. "You want to be sure you're giving your group and your supervisors the impression that you're a team player -- you are there and you're doing what you have to do to book revenue," Strankowski notes. There are ancillary benefits to being in the office during the busy season and taking your vacation later. If you take a vacation during the busiest days, you'll face more interruptions. So it's to your advantage to take your vacation at a slower time.
Immediately following a merger or acquisition. Visibility is critical in the period following a merger or acquisition, as your company and team are being scrutinized for things like relevance, productivity, and necessity. One of the chief concerns after a merger is redundancy, but showing up and working hard can help employees make a case for themselves.
During executive or key client visits. This is another point when visibility is critical: When a person of authority is traveling to your branch or office, you want to be there to maintain your identity as a strong player. Many of these visits are scheduled in advance, so the onus is on the employee to plan for them, Strankowski says.
Anytime a team member or supervisor leaves. This is the ultimate opportunity for you to step up, take a leadership role, and set yourself apart. "It's all about creating value in the workforce today," Strankowski says. "They have to position themselves as that star athlete, that star performer, that star player," he says. Offering to take over some responsibilities can increase your marketability at work.
Available at Amazon.com:
- 7 Times You Shouldn't Take a Vacation
- Why Office Dating May Be More Dangerous in This Economy
- Invest in Me, Inc.
- When Success Doesn't Come Fast Enough
- The Right Job at the Right Time
- Why Physician Assistant School May be Right for You
- Some Good News for Job Seekers
- How Morning Exercise Can Boost Your Career
- Is Job Loyalty for Better or Worse?
- Return to Work Way Ahead of the Game
- Does Gray Hair Ruin Career?
- 7 Tips to Master Every Meeting
- Get Career Goals in Gear This Summer
- How Your Career and Boss Can Ruin Your Health
- Law Jobs Will Be Harder to Come By
- More M.B.A. Graduates Will Get Jobs in 2010
- How Online Students Balance Family, Work, and School
- Jobs Bill a Tough Call for Democrats
- How to Get a Job After a Year (or More) Out of Work
- Alternatives to Traditional Retirement
- Job Market Strategies for Recent Graduates
- Lessons For Success From Apple's Steve Jobs
- We've Come a Long Way in Wrong Direction
- How You'll Find Your Next Job
- 6 Ways to Keep Family From Derailing Your Career
- 10 Ways to Make Any Job Healthier
- What the Resumes of Top CEOs Have in Common
- Seven Tips for Secret Job Search
- Video Game Design Careers
- Five Tips to Avoid Confirmation Bias
- Successful Career Switchers
- The Secret to Success for Artists and Creatives
- Why Some Women Skirt the Wage Gap
- Fear of Failure? Three Tips to Guarantee Success
- Behind the 'Mompreneur' Myth
- Creative Ways to Combine Work & Family
- Make More Money & Live Your Passion: Become a Cre8tor
- Banking Laws Leave Business Customers Vulnerable to Internet Fraud
- Deducting Hobby Expenses: Think Business
- When to Make a Personal Course Correction
- Kick-Starting a Business of Your Own
Careers - 7 Times You Shouldn't Take a Vacation
(c) 2010 U.S. News & World Report