A version of this article was first published as my July 2019 monthly column on Troy Media.
I just returned from a 2-week road trip in Newfoundland with my sister, a trip I highly recommend. Being away, really off the grid, gave me time to reflect on all the reasons it is important to take annual leave. That is how vacation used to happen - annual leave where you left the office, packed up the kids and the station wagon and were absent for several weeks at a time. Now we squeeze in a long weekend between due dates and business trips and rack up un-used vacation days. It has gotten so bad, most employers have done away with vacation carry-over. Somewhere along the way, we gave up our right to put down our tools and rest.
I will admit at the outset that I am a vacation-taker. It goes back to my childhood. My dad was a teacher, so come summer we had the opportunity to take off for weeks at a time. I got into the habit. I even remember a shocking time in the mid-00s when I spent 3 weeks touring Australia with my Blackberry locked in the hotel safe in Sydney. While that may be a bit extreme, I do think breaking away from work in a meaningful way, for a significant period of time, is critical to our health and well-being as humans, and as workers. There are at least 7 good reasons to take your annual leave.
We have created a world that is constantly ‘on’ and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be constantly ‘on’. For the betterment of ourselves, and others, sometimes we just need to give it a rest.