Do we ever truly escape our work environment?
BRYCE ON LIFE
I think Americans have a problem taking vacations. Although most of us feel lucky to take a week off or a few days here and there, it’s rare for Americans to take vacations like our European or Australian counterparts who may take as much as a month off at a time. Sure, we enjoy some time off to recoup from work, but I think the problem here is that Americans don’t know how to relax. Whereas others take the time to study the culture of a different locale, Americans rush from one spot to another snapping photos along the way. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium,” you know what I mean. Our frenetic pace is puzzling to outsiders who do not understand why we don’t take the time to truly enjoy the local scenery.
Part of our problem is our multicultural society which has made us a bit more competitive than most. We are always trying to stay one step ahead of our competition, our coworkers, and our neighbors. When we take time off, we’re never too far from a telephone and the Internet. I’m just as guilty as anyone in this regards; I don’t think I’ve been unplugged from e-mail since the 1980’s. Being in Florida, I always chuckle when I see someone on the beach working diligently on their laptop. I’m sure they are not appreciating the scenery and for all intents and purposes they might as well be back in the office. I think the reason why we’re like this is we’re afraid that something might go wrong if we cannot be contacted to answer questions or solve a problem.
Americans rarely take a two week vacation. The last one I took was years ago with my wife. The first week was fine, but by the second week I was becoming itchy to get back to work. We even start to feel guilty for taking so much time off. Small wonder that Americans are past masters of the long weekend as opposed to taking true vacations.
When we do decide to take a vacation we either want to see something new or something familiar which we rarely get a chance to appreciate. As for me, it’s fly fishing in Montana. Regardless of where we really want to go, we inevitably have to deal with family commitments. For those of you who have moved far from home, you know exactly what I mean. You are expected to return with the kids year after year thereby eating up your precious vacation days. Instead of visiting Vegas or the Caribbean, you find yourself in Chillicothe, Ohio. Such is the price for moving out of town.
The concept of the vacation is to relax, broaden our horizons, and refocus, thereby making us better workers. However, because of our obsession with staying connected to work and our competitiveness, I don’t believe we know how to relax and often consider vacations a waste of time. As an aside, have you ever met someone who proudly proclaims he hasn’t taken a vacation in a number of years? Somehow I am reminded of the proverb,
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Instead of taking a real vacation, I know a lot of people who would rather not waste their time and use a virtual reality simulator like the one used in the Schwarzenegger Movie, “Total Recall.” This might be nice, but then again I don’t think anything can truly simulate catching a cutthroat trout in the chilly waters of the Flathead River in Montana.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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