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Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-23-2006, 08:54 PM   #1
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Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

That's the title of this article in today's San Francisco Comical er, Chronicle.*

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...&sn=003&sc=744

General thrust of the article is that many people are not taking vacation and that "...73.9 percent of employees admit to contacting the office or colleagues while on vacation.* Close to half say they do some work when they're away."

This follows on the heels of a conversation I just had with my boss.* After 25 years with Megacorp he has earned untold weeks of vacation (he doesn't remember how many weeks per year, total), and he's just NOW taken a week off after two YEARS without a week-long-or-better vacation.

Of the many weeks he does have, this week will be more or less all he takes this year.* What's more, Megacorp doesn't accrue vacation from year to year.* You use it or you lose it.

I don't get it.* But then, I'm from the slow class.

Does anyone out there love their job (or loathe their family) so much they'd rather work than go on vaction?* Or are things so scary out there that folks feel the need to work for free for several weeks out of the year (which is what giving up vacation is), rather than take time to "sharpen the saw?"

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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-23-2006, 09:14 PM   #2
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

Hi Caroline (it's always nice to see you post)

I read this same article today. My mega corp employer has embedded a mandatory 3 week time off for all IT employees for 2006 into our goals. This is a humanly impossible task for most since we are squeezed to the absolute max resource wise. My mega corp has set their IT people up for failure: You don't take the mandatory 3 weeks, you fail. You take the mandatory 3 weeks and your tasks (which roll up to goals) are in jeopardy of not getting complete, you fail. :P

I'm sick and tired of my mega corp speaking from both sides of their mouths. It's crap like this which makes me kick myself for not saving EARLY and OFTEN for ER.
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-23-2006, 11:40 PM   #3
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

In my 35 years of working for mega-corps, I took all of my vacation every year. Took about 75% of it in big chunks and never once checked with the office. The other 25% was a mix of day trips and doing projects at home.....and quite often ended up checking in with the office...or more likely during the last 5 years, my email.
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-24-2006, 12:25 AM   #4
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
. . . Does anyone out there love their job (or loathe their family) so much they'd rather work than go on vaction?* Or are things so scary out there that folks feel the need to work for free for several weeks out of the year (which is what giving up vacation is), rather than take time to "sharpen the saw?"
I never skipped vacations. I used to save it up and take several weeks at a time -- preferably adjoining a holiday weedend. Taking 3 weeks off work tends to be career limiting, but I liked to do things like spend 3 weeks on Easter Island or hiking the Andes.

There was a time when I really enjoyed the research I was involved in and I would take technical papers or books to read or review while on vacation. Sometimes I would fill up notepads with equations and derivations. I would do this stuff instead of reading a novel or magazine in the terminal, on the plane or before going to bed in the evening. It didn't take time away from my wife. I didn't write reports or design products on vacation, and my paycheck was never based directly on solving a research problem, but the work did advance my career.

Today I spend a lot of my retirement weeks doing volunteer work for archaeologists. My DW and I bring archaeology papers and texts and read this material in the evenings or during down time. We are often working with professional archaeologists who are taking time off work and reading the same things we're reading. We all also spend a lot of time around the campfire imbibing, speculating and discussing the literature and what we are finding.

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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-24-2006, 12:43 AM   #5
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

I have taken almost all of my vacation every year... and it has not hurt my career at all... what has hurt is the mergers where you lose your position and start over again...happened this last merger, but I do not care... I get my paycheck just like I did before...

As to Mega setting up for failure... today I had heard from a group that we are selling.. there are 52 people in a group, but there are 16 open positions... yet, they are laying off some people due to a sale of this group to another mega.. always seems strange to me..
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-24-2006, 10:14 AM   #6
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

I took every helping of leave I rated and then went back for extras at the "personal time off" dessert bar. And when our commands added Outlook web access for reading e-mail from remote locations, I immediately timeshifted my activities to avoid rush hour.

A typical phone conversation around 4 PM:
Boss: "Are you at your desk right now?"
Me: "As far as you can tell."

As my retirement date approached I let the leave pile up to take a honkin' 100 straight days of time off, and I sold back the extras. Knowing what I know now about the defense joint military pay system I would advise against selling leave back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
This follows on the heels of a conversation I just had with my boss.* After 25 years with Megacorp he has earned untold weeks of vacation (he doesn't remember how many weeks per year, total), and he's just NOW taken a week off after two YEARS without a week-long-or-better vacation.
I had two noteworthy bosses whose continued presence was judged by them to be vital to the continued functioning of the entire U.S. Navy. One of them regularly lost 20-25 of his 30 days of annual leave and was in the office until midnight of the "last day" before retirement to make sure his relief was "up to speed". Of course his relief had left for the golf course at 2 PM.

The second boss had two prosthetic hips (rheumatoid arthritis) that contracted staph infections (I suspect due to overwork and prolonged sitting/lack of exercise). Rather than stay home on bedrest infusing antibiotics to kill the infection, he persisted on manning his office desk and overworking himself into the emergency room. The orthopedic surgeons avenged themselves by removing not one but BOTH hip prosthetics, which put him on crutches & electric scooters for six months. He kept rescheduling his replacement surgery and finally retired in the damn scooter.

He got a nice retirement award but we put his wife in for a Legion of Merit with a Purple Heart. Talk about hazardous duty above & beyond the call...
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-24-2006, 12:51 PM   #7
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

We get a relatively generous "timebank" allowance, but since we have only one tech per shift, someone has to work ungodly amounts of OT to cover for the vacating...
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?
Old 08-25-2006, 07:31 PM   #8
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Re: Is it a vacation if you don't vacate?

About 8 years before I left my job, I try to negotiate an additional increase to my salary by asking for an extra week of vacation added to my 3 weeks with the agreement that I could cash in any or all my the vacation time. I never got the additional week but my boss did allow me to cash in any or all my vacation time. Being single and not having a very stressful job, I began exchanging my vacation time for additional salary. The last 4 years, I cashed all of my vacation time. Since I earned a nice 6 figure salary, it was a nice chunk of money.
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