I’m taking the day off work today, which has been planned for 8 weeks. Yes, I have to plan that far ahead to take a single day off but not because I am so essential to my company — but because I need to work on the guilt I feel not being there. You probably know what I am talking about… when you feel badly when you take a sick day or even vacation. But why do you feel bad? That doesn’t seem fair to deserved, and it sure takes away from what could be an awesome day to relax.
As a manager, I want people on my team to be rested and to feel like they can take time off when they want to. We offer 4 weeks of paid time off through the course of the year, as well as 10 days of paid vacation (for a total of 6 work-week equivalents off) so that’s either a great perk or a ton of guilt.
This is just messed up. It’s a messed up part of our culture and it doesn’t pay off. People just end up burned out and resentful, and all the perks in the world can’t fix things once you get to that point. So I don’t know how to fix this for everyone else, but I can lead by example. I’m signing off Slack, off email, and I’m headed to brunch with a book. After that I’ll probably come home and take a nap, or watch tons of TV, or maybe hop in the car and drive out to the beach… I don’t know. But I simply refuse to feel bad about it.