Statistically, Americans get the least vacation time of most any country. Just ask Expedia. No, but seriously, we do. And last I checked, we're among the most paranoid people ever when it comes to leaving our work behind.
My cousin, who's taken up marketing at DriversEd.com, called me in a mild panic because of an upcoming planned vacation he discussed with the HR manager before he was even hired. She OK'ed it; vacations happen, whaddaya do. But yesterday he demanded, in a tone that hardly elicits an answer, whether I think he'll still have a job once he returns.
"Dude, it's two weeks," I said. "You're good at what you do and nobody else is doing it. Why wouldn't you have a job?"
There wasn't much of a response on his end, and that's okay because he's reacting to a feeling that's common but irrational at heart. Americans are the least inclined to take advantage of their paltry vacation time. One can argue it's because we love what we're doing just that much, but we're probably just scared our bosses will realize they perhaps don't need us much after all.
This doesn't happen. So take your vacation, chuck your e-mail and relax. And in the unfortunate event that you do not in fact have a job when you return, hey. Go build value with people who really deserve you.
Above all things we need to take care of ourselves. It's my firm belief that "tendering oneself," as Shakes' would say, yields the max benefit of our productive potential.
This is a lengthy segue to what I actually popped in to talk about.
Think it's hard to take a vacation? Try leaving the nine to five entirely. Like, forever.
Because, after a long (read: endless) period of deliberation, flip-flopping and completely insane priority-juggling, I've just done it.
I love DriversEd.com and I think my time there was well-spent. In conjunction with the people I worked with (the people I saw most for all of three years!), I got to do and be part of some amazing things.
This company guided my professional development - and dealt with me, rain or shine - all through college. When I left, the marketing department was three times bigger than it was when I started. The clients, pet projects and whatever else I left behind (a stuffed fish named Lyle, for example) are all in good hands.
Leaving a place, especially one to which you feel you owe so much, is frightening.
So why did I quit? What am I doing now?
I'm doing what I said I'd do in high school. I'm writing. About ads and technology. 24/7.
I mean DriversEd.com was great, but now life is a magic sandwich comprised of everything I love, in concentrate. And this is just the beginning of a much grander adventure.
Why am I saying this?
Because we spend so much of our lives in fear - fear of taking a break, fear of leaving someplace, fear of committing, fear of disappointing somebody.
Fear is mostly just us. Sometimes we need to squeeze our eyes shut and leap. When we do what's right by us, inevitably we produce more for others. Plus, people respect you more for it.
That's a big deal.
In other news, guess what? I'm moving to Ithaca to dabble easterly and get a broad broad feel for the wide wide world. I am stoked.
Liftoff: mid-June. Hello, everyone.