Americans do not take vacations. That is what I was told last night by ABC News as I sat watching TV on the couch with my family. What they also said was that when we do take our vacations we take shorter ones and we tend to do work, such as check email, while we are away. With that all members of my family turned and looked at me. Of course I let out the expected, “What?!” But they were right. That is me. They were also right when they told me that perhaps I wouldn’t need blood pressure medication and such if I would take more time off and learn to relax.
Interestingly enough I have a consultant from Canada at my work right now. He was telling me about this thing called “Family Day“. Basically it sounds like the powers-that-be in Canada came to the same conclusion so they established this holiday called Family Day so that people would be forced to spend some time with their family. Great idea, but isn’t it a shame that the government has to mandate it? Do we, and I am including you people up in Vancouver and Alberta here, do we really prefer our work to our families?
On that note I am proud to say that I did take last Friday off and spend it with my wife. You can see her with a puppy in the picture. And I spent the rest of the weekend in various activities with my kids and other members of the family. What I am not proud to say is that I also spent a large amount of that time on the phone with my office or using my cell phone to email. In some ways the ability to stay in touch has freed me from the office, but in many other ways it has just tethered me back to it.
What I would ask you is this, are you sacrificing your life and your time with family and friends for work? And when you do take time with them, are you lessening the quality? Are you at your kid’s game, but on the cell phone the entire time? Are you on vacation, but sneaking off to check your email on your phone. If you can commit like that to your work, why can’t you commit like that to your family and yourself?