If these 3 walls could talk…
I thought to change things up and write a true blog instead of a journal. After looking back and seeing that past entries were approaching the “14 minute read” mark, I’m thinking these should be more focused and much less time consuming. That being said…
***NOTE: The words dread and anxiety are interchangeable. I used dread because that’s how my coworkers described it.
I just came back from a week’s worth of project management traning off-site. Having time away from the office is great but coming back isn’t always the best experience. Time off from work, be it vacation, training, etc. is always welcome. But why don’t we look forward to coming back? Do we hate our jobs so much that coming back is painful? Is it the amount of emails we have to respond to or the work we have to catch up on that we dread? If you’re answer is yes to any of those questions, you’re not alone. Time off is precious and no one gets enough of it. The dread of coming back, sometimes categorized as work anxiety, means we have to “adult” again.
There are plenty of articles that give tips to mitigate the dread (a few listed at the bottom of this post) but I feel it’s becase we never really have a chance to disconnect from our jobs. I took my first ever planned vacation back in February to Clarksdale, MS, “Birthplace of the Blues”. It was awesome! I like my job and the company I work for and grateful for both but the dread was mounting the closer it came to coming back. All I could think of was the 8 billion emails I’d have to respond to then catching up on project requirements. I could have kept up with all of it via my company phone but how would that have been a vacation? I sure as hell wasn’t getting paid overtime for checking (and probably responding to) emails. I wouldn’t get that time back and not be charged for leave hours so why bother? It also made me feel that I should never take another vacation.
Thank you technology for tethering all of us to our jobs and taking away our down time. And also, thank you technology for keeping us abreast of what’s going on while we’re away. Anyone that tells me that they don’t at least check their work email once while they’re out is full of BS. We all do. We almost have to. And there’s an expectation that we do. Enter dread, anxiety, and probably animosity.
I’m not talking about big time CEOs or senior management, it’s us minions that carry the brunt of it. At many workplaces, including mine, leave time is accrued so you have limited amounts of time and then have to earn it back. How? By not taking any time off for upwards of months. Many of us have to schedule/stagger time off because of the nature of our work with other colleagues. Vacations, or any time off in general, are tough to schedule becuase of work and the requirements to keep up with anything. This doesn’t lead to any sort of elation for coming back. No matter how much you say you love your job, coming back from time off is always difficult.
Coming back to 3 walls after being in the great wide open ain’t promoting work/life balance and that’s what I dread most…losing life to work.
Here’s some links that have suggestions for how to minimize your dread.
Harvard Business Review:
Thanks for taking the time to read this and please feel free to click the heart at the bottom. I’d love to hear what you have to say and share experiences on how you handle it.