Please go away!

By Darlene Slaughter on October 16, 2014


I need a vacation.

There, I said it. And I know I’m not the only one that feels this way from time to time.

I’ve been working extremely hard. Everyone I work with works extremely hard. Everyone I know works extremely hard. And I’ve been lucky enough to do many amazing things with the amazing people I work with, but, the reality is, if I don’t take a break to rest and recharge, I won’t be able to continue to bring the energy and enthusiasm to my job that helps me be successful. And I’m just about out of gas.

The good news for me is there’s a light at the end of the tunnel—warm soft Caribbean sunlight. But even as I’m about to go away on a much-needed vacation, I’m finding the continuing requests for my time make it hard to actually stop and take a vacation.

And according to Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal, I’m not the only one who feels this way, and the ill-effects of not taking vacation affect everyone.

“…The ill effects of refusing to go on vacation, documented in research, include fatigue, poor morale, heart problems and reduced productivity,” Shellenbarger writes in Companies Deal With Employees Who Refuse to Take Time Off by Requiring Vacations, Paying Them to Go. “Some 15% of U.S. employees who are entitled to paid vacation time haven’t used any of it in the past year, according to a March survey of 952 employees for the job and career site Glassdoor.

“Vacation resistors cause problems for the entire office. Often they refuse to delegate duties, and they make colleagues feel guilty,” she continues.

“…A heavy workload and fear of returning to a big backlog are major reasons employees don’t take all their vacation. Some may feel vacations simply aren’t worth it.”

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The paradox of vacation—the more you need it, the harder it is to actually take it—is not to be underestimated. Of course, a big part of a leader’s job is to value, encourage, and reward hard work, but there’s a balance to be struck between work, and well-timed “down-time.” The most skillful leaders, those who are consistently able to get the most out of their people, model the behaviors that lead to team and organizational success. They not only show their people how to work, but they also set a powerful and effective example by showing them how important it is to unplug by actually doing it themselves!

So, I challenge you all to go on vacation! You’ve earned it and your team will thank you for it.

But the real question is: What’s holding you back? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Posted in Blog, Inclusive Leadership

About Darlene Slaughter

Darlene Slaughter is a former Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Fannie Mae.
2 comments on “Please go away!
  1. Valaree Moodee says:

    I hear you loud and clear and call me the”vacation queen” because I do take my vacations! I will NEVER be one of those employees carrying over vacation days, if anything, I’m asking “can I get an advance on next year’s vacation?”
    LOL! Vacations are a time to reflect, a time to re-engage, a time to re-program. Once you return to work, it’s time to start planning your next vacation. Visit another continent, learn about a new culture, experience new and different cuisines, add a little more history to that brain of yours!

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