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How To Make Your Vacation Work For You

Ramon Greenwood -- Vacation: time to kick back and recharge our batteries. Here are some tips for dealing with factors that can detract from the pleasures and benefits of time away from work.

I'm scrambling around preparing to take off for a 10-day vacation. My family -- all 11 of us in various combinations, depending on who can get away from work and when -- are going to be spending the time together at a house we rent each year on a North Carolina beach.

We always have a great time on our family vacation. It's a time to kick back and recharge our batteries. But we know that we must deal with many factors that can detract from the pleasures and benefits of our vacation.

Here are seven common sense steps that will help assure that vacations serve their best purposes.

1. Come to grips with the fact that our employer (readers and clients) can get along for a few days without us. However, it is to be hoped that our absence will cause everyone to recognize how much we do contribute when we are on the job.

2. Reject the macho idea that long hours with our nose to the grindstone demonstrate strength and commitment. It's what we produce that counts. Even an ox needs time out of the yoke.

3. Hold to the dates we've scheduled for vacation, come hell or high water. Cancel it only on a direct order from the boss. If our employer forces us to cancel our vacation, make sure he has a good reason. Absent a reason, consider whether we are working in an environment that will nurture our growth.

4. Establish a plan to cover our responsibilities. Do work in advance. Delegate. Advise those with whom we work of our plans and what we expect to happen while we are away.

5. Leave a contact point with a “gatekeeper,” who will respect our down time, through whom we can be reached. Don’t check with the office while on vacation. They’ll call if we are needed. Don’t panic if there is no contact.

6. Flush work out of our mind. Put the components of our life in perspective. Recharge our batteries. Read things totally unrelated to your work. Get plenty of rest.

7. Be prepared to double our efforts when we return from vacation to catch up and go ahead with our work.

It’s well to remember that there is no record of anyone wishing on their deathbed that they had spent less time on vacation.

Ramon Greenwood is former senior vice president of American Express; a professional director for various businesses; a consultant; a published author of career related books; a syndicated column; as well as senior career counselor for Visit Ramon at his Web site,, to sign up for his free semi-monthly newsletter, or contact him at

© 2008 Ramon Greenwood

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