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Marble Jar Gang Career Counseling: The Impact of Working on Vacation


The basic premise or formula is to recognize that when your skills + traits + behaviors are placed in the right environment the outcome will give you a greater chance of success and happiness in your work.


A few facts from the American Psychological Association 2018 survey stated that 21% of adults felt stressed while on vacation because of what ‘may be going on’ on back at work and 28% actually worked on their vacation by exchanging emails and taking calls. At Marble Jar Gang, this is a pet peeve and we want to address it head on. There is no badge of honor to work when you are off work, in fact we believe it deserves to be ‘coached’ as a performance issue. Seriously, we do!

We are currently coaching a young entrepreneur who is growing a business at a fast pace. As the founder this individual is very involved with all the aspects of the company and all of the people who have been hired. Under this CEO there are 7 direct reports who each have 7-10 reports under them.

Our shared vision is to foster development of the team through training, coaching, mentoring on the basis of trust and respect. Our ‘mentee’ decided to plan a vacation with their equally busy spouse and go to remote mountain location which is not generally WiFi accessible. It was a one week holiday and well-planned in advance. The whole team knew of the holiday and planned accordingly. We hope you can take a valuable lesson from the story. While our client remains unnamed, this person would approve of us sharing with you in the spirit of learning.

Day 2 of the vacation there is a post on social media that has a picture of the CEO sitting in a jeep, on the phone with the heading “my office for the day…taking conference calls from a beautiful canyon." Is this the right message to send to a team that you are mentoring, developing and building trust?

Managers, consider these points of impact on all the people around you if you blatantly work on your vacation:

· What did the team think that their boss didn’t trust them enough to go 48 hours without allowing them to hold meetings and make a few decisions on their own?

· What did the teams, under these direct reports, think about their managers capabilities if the CEO can’t trust them enough to make it a few days on their own?

· What would the Board of Directors think of a CEO who can’t trust their team? And how is this developing the next generation of leaders? How does this effect the company operations if a key management player becomes incapacitated for even a short time?

· What does it say to every person about their own ability to take a vacation and not have to work? And how does that make them, and their family, feel about the company when they really are not allowed to take a full vacation from work?

· How does it affect the partner/spouse who is ‘standing by’ until the conference call is completed? Does this benefit their shared time together?

All of these answers to these questions have negative impacts on many levels, professionally through the organization and personally, within the family.

Evaluate the culture in your organization and find out what is expected when you take paid time off? This is a good homework assignment and put a marble in your jar when you have completed this. For a deeper dive into why you need to take a vacation check this out: https://www.themuse.com/.../how-to-get-over-vacation-guilt-and-actually-enjoy-your-...

Our theory is to plan your time off and take it, allowing your teams to do the same by your example. Job burnout is a real thing and now formally defined as a ‘syndrome’. Don’t be the cause or victim of workplace burnout. For a deeper dive into this issue check out: https://time.com/5599292/vacation-without-stressing-work/

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