Have you ever said "I'm on vacation but..."

Dec 22, 2023

I’ll still be checking emails.

Wow, aren’t we so important that business can’t continue without us?

When I worked in hospitality I found myself saying this.  Partly because I felt guilty for others who may not be taking PTO. 

Also, hotels operate on a 24-hour, 365 days-a-year basis.  Certainly, there could be a need or an urgent matter from one of our properties that I could help with on Christmas Day or on New Year’s Eve. 

Nope.  I was not and remain not that important. 

Yes, I was contributing uniquely to my role and to my team, but not to the extent where EVERYTHING WOULD STOP without me.


  1. Establish Clear Boundaries:

When gearing up for your vacation, it's crucial to be crystal clear with your team and contacts. Shoot a friendly email communicating your vacation dates and include an out-of-office response detailing your absence. If there's a go-to person in your absence, mention them too. Make it explicit that work-related calls and emails won't be on your radar during this time. By setting these firm boundaries, you not only manage expectations but also minimize the chances of unwelcome interruptions.

  1. Craft a Digital Detox Plan:

Consider adopting a digital detox strategy to truly unwind during your break. Silence those work-related notifications on your phone and other gadgets. Take it a step further by temporarily removing work apps or stashing them in a folder you won't be poking around in. If feasible, leave that work laptop at home or disable the apps. The idea is to create a tangible and digital separation from your work tools, making it less tempting to sneak a peek during your well-deserved time off.

  1. Delegate Responsibilities:

Before you embark on your vacation, entrust your tasks to a reliable colleague or team member. Equip them with clear instructions and any essential information to handle your workload while you're away. Having confidence in your team allows you to kick back and relax, knowing that the ship is in capable hands. This not only ensures tasks are handled efficiently but also frees your mind from the shackles of work responsibilities.

In this week’s podcast, I am reminded of the importance of quality time.  Listen to the story of 15-year-old Emily Camacho, from a family of migrant farm workers, who I interviewed right before Thanksgiving.  I asked “what she was THANKFUL for” during the holidays.  While she states that on her resume, she could put 10 years of farm work experience… her most fond memories are spending quality time with her family.  Regardless of the heat, the despicable conditions, and the gruelling tasks… she remembers the family time. 


Happy Holidays to all.  Please don’t respond to this email.