Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Effects of a Lengthy Vacation

I just completed my first few days of work in over 3 weeks. Though I was sick for part of that time - I am finding myself coming back to my job with more focus. Some of the focus is directly related to the vacation. The rest of the focus is related to an exciting change I will announce in the coming weeks....

- Time off and AWAY FROM WORK (not checking e-mails, etc) gives you a new perspective on what you do. I find that it is very difficult to get that perspective when I am at home but still working. I suspect this is because in our hyper-connected world - you never quite get away unless you completely unplug. And having reduced everyone's expectations - I'm noticing my phone is much quieter upon this return than it was after previous vacations. I've gotten more space to catch up. (BTW: from reading my hundreds of e-mails - looks like I didn't miss much....)

- Things work just fine without me there. And that's OK...... Over the years, I've learned that it is much easier to move on and gain the space to learn new things when you are replaceable in your current position. If I improve what I have and share my knowledge with others to the point where I'm not needed - that's a victory. If I continue to generate results - I'm OK.

- The extended time off allows me to do some planning. What do I want my career to look like? What type of relationships do I want with my co-workers? What changes do I need to make in the way I operate to be more efficient and effective and nicer to be around?

- It's easier to practice ways of coping with the inevitable pressures of work when you are not under intense stress all the time. With enough practice when stress-reduction strategies are NOT needed, I hope I can use those practices successfully when do I need them. Except for 1 slip (which was justified - I have a practice manager who refuses to take responsibility for anything and I finally called her out, with the approval of my boss of course) - I've done OK. Now I just have to learn to turn off when I get home...

- I've discovered that I've hit the point in my life that taking 3 weeks off and doing very little physical activity (plus having the refrigerator right there and lots of time to cook) is a great way to ensure that my work clothes fit snuggly upon my return. OK - I was sick for about 1/2 of that time, but still....

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the ability to take 3 whole weeks off without worrying about a paycheck or whether I have enough vacation days to cover the time.

There are some big changes afoot over the next month. I'll announce these changes after Thanksgiving. If I can contain my excitement for that long....

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