Q: How do I make sure nothing comes up while I'm gone?
Q: I desperately want to take some time off before I lose my vacation time at the end of the year. But if there’s a crisis, I’m concerned my co-workers couldn’t handle it. How do I make sure nothing comes up while I’m gone?
A: You can’t. What you can do is realize that the world will continue if you get out of the office once in a while.
Many of us (and I can relate to this) enjoy thinking we are indispensable, irreplaceable and necessary for the world to function. But the truth is the sun manages to rise and set without any input or action on our part.
The other truth is that if you’ve trained everyone around you to believe they can’t manage without you, you’re going to burn out, and the people around you won’t ever have to be competent.
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On the other hand, there are decades of research proving how indispensable, irreplaceable and necessary it truly is for human beings to play, relax and rejuvenate if they want to be peak performers.
With all the chaos going on in business right now, I can see why you might be reluctant to take a deep breath for fear you will miss something. Unfortunately this constant state of hypervigilance will only guarantee that when you do need to react, you’ll be too tired to think clearly.
In dealing with my own tendencies to be a workaholic, I’ve learned that I have to be willing to experience anxiety to take a vacation. I leave it to calmer souls to gleefully anticipate leaving work. I have to pry myself away from my office with nervous backward glances.
If you just aren’t wired to count the days until you are free from workplace responsibilities, then take a vacation because you care about what you do. The world will go on without you, you’ll gain perspective and recharge, and everyone around you will appreciate you more when you return.
An elderly comedian once quipped that he couldn’t die because he was booked until he was 110. It may be flattering to know you could be booked with work until well after death, but it’s equally important to remember who you are when you’re not in the office.
The last word(s)
Q: I’ve been asked to try a job I’m not sure I can do — but I’d love to try. If I’m not certain I can succeed, should I still take the job?
A: Yes. Some of our finest moments at work are finding out just how much we can achieve when we’re given a chance.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., is an executive coach, trainer, therapist, speaker and author. She can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at email@example.com; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies.