On Tuesday morning you’ll find me on a hotel balcony somewhere in the Caribbean with the sunrising while my fingers are busily reading, replying and archiving emails. That’s right. I work on vacation. GASP!
But before you judge me, let me explain. Yes, I spend most of my professional life encouraging women to pursue work-life blend. I believe that women deserve more career options than the traditional two options. Those options most frequently are A) Working 80 hours a week in someone else’s downtown glass office or B) Not working in a professional setting whatsoever. At MomSource, we remind women that there are progressive organizations that understand that we can coexist as parent and professional simultaneously and that are offering opportunities for remote work, flexible hours and structured re-entry after taking a career break. We also serve as a partner to many of these companies to help them build enterprise programs that are supportive of those in need of increased flexibility and more family-friendly policies and to help them recruit and retain this great female talent.
I also work every morning of every vacation that I take. Each morning of our family vacation, I wake up, brush my teeth and grab my laptop and phone for 1-2 hours of work. After these 2 hours, I’m no longer available by email. My colleagues and clients know that they can reach me with urgent requests by text message. Other than that, the rest of the day, I try not to focus on work but rather enjoy my family and our vacation.
But why would I do that? Isn’t that in direct opposition with what I believe and advocate for every day? Shouldn’t I be ashamed?
No, because working on vacation works for me.
- Because we have such a small team, I know that someone might need an urgent response from me. We are a team of great collaborators and if I can offer input or a solution that can help solve a problem immediately then I want to do that.
- I have insane email anxiety. Before I developed this system, I would spend 2 full days not enjoying my last 2 days of vacation because I’m consumed with fear about how far behind I’ll be when I try to return to work on Monday.
- I’m an early bird. Waking up, triaging messages and responding if necessary does not inhibit my time with my family. I’m done working before they’ve started rolling out of bed.
Should you work during vacation also?
Only if it’s genuinely the right solution for you. Nobody at my office pressures me to respond to emails or to work on vacation and nobody would judge me if I didn’t. We plan for vacations, share them on our team calendar and prep and debrief our colleagues before and after our planned time off work.
We support a culture of flexibility, family and blend. There is no one size fits all solution to work-life blend.