How to Appease your Vacation Guilts

With the milder weather beginning to rear its glorious head, many of us are turning our focus toward the sun and fun of spring and summer. At this time of year, many young professionals are starting to think about using up some of that well-deserved vacation time…or are we? In chatting with a variety of YPs about their vacation plans for spring and summer, we’ve discovered an unusual, yet seemingly common phenomenon: the odd sensation known as the vacation guilts, or feeling bad about taking time off from work. It seems that with so much riding on us during this crucial period of our personal and professional lives, many YPs are trepidacious about taking time away from all the important go-getting. We fear someone else may take our spot, that others may think of us as lazy, or that we will get off track. Knowing just how important time away from work is to the health and well being of young professionals, we thought it essential to take a moment to recognize this situation and tackle it. Here are some of your vacation guilts appeased:

They’ll buy from someone else.
For those working in the frenzied worlds of freelance, sales, or business ownership, for example, being on the job is pretty much the most important part of the job. In such professions, there is no down time, no busy work, no hourly pay. In order to make money, clients have to be sought, pitches have to be perfected, sales have to be made, and work has to be done. Thus, for many in these positions, taking time off directly correlates to lack of income. Now, it’s easy enough to work extra in order to save up for a vacation and ensure a regular flow of cash, so this isn’t the actual issue. What most YPs are really worried about is ultimately losing those clients, those gigs, that work. There is a very real fear that if we take a week or two away from the job, that clients will go elsewhere and that we will be replaced. In reality, however, we must think of such business relationships as not unlike our personal relationships. If we’ve fostered strong and genuine connections with clients or customers, they’ll wait. If we’ve done quality work that they have been satisfied with up until now, a week or two away won’t change that. Give yourself and your clients some credit, and rest assured that your empire won’t fall without you momentarily at the helm.

I’ll get totally off track.
This aspect of vacation guilts is probably the most common. In a recent Notable article we discussed the difficulty many YPs have with finding a balance between our desires for routine and randomness. When it comes to vacations, many YPs fear that taking time off from usual routines like work, physical activity, eating well, keeping a budget, etc., will lead them right off track. If this is the case for you, it may be time to reconsider your idea of vacation. If you are one that fears vacation time will result in five pounds gained, too much money spent, and a fuzzy head upon your return home, it may be time to look into other versions of vacation. Time away from work does not have to mean time for debauchery. In fact, as young professionals, vacation time best serves us if used to refresh and relax. Keeping up with physical activity and healthy eating, as well as sticking to a preset budget, will all help keep you on track while on vacation and aid you in returning to work rested and ready, rather than raspy and ragged.

They’ll think I’m lazy.      
As discussed in another past Notable article, regarding common YP stereotypes, fighting the stigma that we’re all lazy is a tough part of the YP life. So, for many of us, there is a desire to over compensate for this nasty reputation by working harder and longer than our colleagues and not taking vacations. There is an old-school misconception that those who work the longest and the hardest are the ones most certain to succeed. From what we’ve since learned about the very real effects of career burnout, however, this mentality no longer holds weight. The importance of taking breaks and vacations is becoming more and more recognized as crucial to the health and productivity of all workers. You are no good to a company, client, or yourself if you are burned out. So, in the end, taking vacations is a way of ensuring the quality of your work and the efficiency of your most important tool: you. Taking care of yourself is not a sign of laziness, but of wise workmanship… so give yourself a break and go hit the beach.