The Week Off

Taking a well-deserved week away from work can really provoke some mixed feelings...on everyone's part.

 This is my personal blog entry-- It is not a news story, nor anyone else's opinion except my own. In fact, a lot of this is not my opinion...just a general discussion of various points of view. So take it with a grain of salt...

So, it has come to that time of year again, when you have to take your vacation time, or else loose it.

Now, lots of people say, "I've earned it, and by gosh, I'm going to take it, no matter what!" They act like someone is actively trying to deprive them of something and wants to punish them by taking it away.

My situation is somewhat different, and though the circumstances have changed over time... more time available to long-term employees... a change in ownership... different immediate superior...

...the problem remains the same.  WHEN is the best time to take off?

Now, it's not that I don't want to take some time off.  After all, it would help eliminate some expenses and make the bottom line a bit better.  By that, I'm referring to the need to fill my car with gas every fourth day...the need to buy an evening meal...and other sundry expenses, like replacing make-up, clothes, shoelaces, etc.

But the fact that you're gone from the workplace provokes some unusual emotions in others.  

First is the viewer who says, "Where's he gone?  Has he quit? Why didn't they say anything? He MUST be gone!"

Second is the co-worker who would like to take time, but is currently buried under whatever assignment or deadline THEY are facing.  "That lucky dog!  They don't deserve time off! I work harder than they do..."  (There is no dealing with this attitude. You can never win.  And they harbor their hidden anger for years...)

Third is the fact that others must be re-assigned to cover your slot.  This can be a two-edged sword, providing some much needed exposure and training for those coming along behind you. It give others an opportunity to see some of the pressures that you face, and to realize that it's not all a bed of roses.  Some even discover that they don't LIKE your job.

Others, well, they see this as an opportunity to try to out-shine you, under the impression that if they do well enough, that they can GET your job.  While this may be true in some situations, it is almost always true that the replacement doesn't understand all of the ramifications of your position, and will almost always be dropping the ball in some behind the scenes area... one that YOU are aware of  and that your boss has decreed must never be ignored or fumbled.

It can also produce stress for the employee who has taken the time  off to relax.  "What if they can get along without me?" What if the replacement does better than me?"  "What will they have changed in the meantime while I've been gone?"  "Will I know or hear about the new changes in time?"

And worse yet, upon returning, do we really want to hear, "Nope, nobody missed you. Everything went fine!"

In my line of work, I find there is no good time to take off.  If I try to align my time off with elementary school letting out, my kids have other plans.  Or they don't value the fact that Dad is home and available to DO THINGS with them for a change.

If I try to take a week off during winter, to go skiing, there's always the threat that I might fall and break something. (The boss hates this possibility!)   Or perhaps I'll get snowed in and have too much fun!  Let's not forget those slippery roads... can't risk an accident on snowy roads. No, winter is not good.

If I try to take time during the summer, what about those strong storms?  When you reserve a week off, you really don't know in advance if the deracheo is going to come that week or not. No, better not try to take a summer week off.

What about Spring?  No, there are always spring storms rolling through, and if there's flooding or bad storms, the first thing on the boss's lips is "Where's Kirk? Why isn't he here?"

So what are we left with?  Autumn?  Let's not forget Football every Friday night!  The whole station gets involved, running out to shoot footage of games, bring it back, edit it and rush it onto the air. And if you don't go shoot, then you're expected to take up the slack and cover anything that breaks. No, Fall is not a good time either.

So when DO you take your week off?  For some, they don't dare, for some of the reasons above. While others think that it curries favor with the boss if he doesn't have to replace you. They think there's a value in always being there, always handling it, and always being dependable. The problem is that they take you for granted.  "Oh, he's always there.  And he always will be."

Unfortunately, this is not true...because to all things, there comes an end.

And so will my week off...

See you soon, when I get back.

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