Memorial Day Weekend: So, Whatcha Doin’?

Allegedly, the beginning of summer is here, although you can’t tell by the weather here on the west coast. It’s Memorial Day Weekend. So, what are you doing? Are you actually taking Monday off and doing something fun? Unfortunately, freelancing is a career when there is no rest for the weary or the wicked, especially when it comes to holidays and vacation days. Take time off, whether because you want to or the work servers are down, and you do not get paid.

But what about Americans who do get paid holidays and vacation days? Are they taking them all? According to a 2010 survey done by Expedia, $67 billion of work days were not taken last year in the US. Read about it here. That’s about 4 days for every person who gets paid vacation days. Some people aren’t taking them because they are afraid they’ll lose their jobs if they do or they’ll fall behind on work. A lot of people are like me and use vacation days to move, to run errands, everything except to relax.

But seriously, you and your brain need a vacation. And not one where you DO finally relax only to get sick with a summer cold. Resting up and recharging your batteries can do wonders for your relationships and help you return to work after the vacation is over feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the next set of problems. If you can leave work behind, that’s great. But most people end up checking in at work on their vacations, which means that really isn’t a vacation at all. You need to set some vacation ground rules: 1) Put in early for vacation time at work — don’t wait until the last minute and give your boss a reason to say no; 2) get your errands done before your vacation; 3) plan ahead what to do if it’s going to be a staycation or where you will go if leaving town; and 4) set a check-in time for work if you really must, and then let subsequent work calls go to voicemail.

Yes, I will be working on Monday and dreaming about paid holidays and vacation days. Hopefully, you will take some time on Monday to remember the veterans, both those who are gone and those still here who have made sacrifices and have made it their career to keep the US safe.

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