The importance of time off

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 8:30 PM | comments: 0

I got into a weird place in the last year where I was working ridiculous hours and not really taking off very much time. I took off a week for Christmas only because I had to use some time or lose it. Then in the first quarter I didn't take any time off. Finally we did a New York trip in April for our anniversary, and I'm not sure I would have done it if I didn't already have it scheduled. In between jobs, I realized just how tweaked out I was, and it was because I didn't take enough time for myself.

This time, I'm trying to really pay attention. I have unlimited PTO, which sounds awesome right? I think that in some ways it will be more challenging, because without an accrual number of days or hours, relative to your time worked, it might not be obvious that you aren't taking time off. In fact, we have a vacation bonus, paying out $500 once a year for taking five consecutive days off.

I'm not sure how I got like this, because my first real job out of college involved comp time, where I got time and a half off for any overtime, even though it was salary. I took maximum advantage of that. In the poor economy and layoff years, I simply viewed work as an unimportant exchange of money for value. It changed when we moved to Florida, so it's partially a symptom of living where everyone else vacations, but also because I started to find meaning in work and responsibility. While admirable, work is still work, and even when it's fun, there's some kind of mental cost that comes with it.

My newer mode of consciousness includes the acknowledgment that we only have so many keystrokes in life, and it's important that I spend enough of them with my little guy and my darling wife. I know I let that slide earlier this year.

So I'm trying to make some plans for the rest of the year, because other than a long weekend in November, we don't have anything specific planned. It's also harder now that Simon is at the school age where we can't just arbitrarily pull him out. Also, the holidays are fine for "staycations" but kind of suck for travel because of crowds and more expensive rooms/fares. It's funny how I'm confident I can lead large groups of people but can't figure out how to take a vacation.


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