Last evening my wife asked me if I was looking forward to going back to work as the two of us have been on vacation for the past two weeks. I answered that yes, I was ready incidentally, but let’s look at the question itself; what it means and how you could interpret it.
Looking forward to going back to work could be asking if you are eager to return to doing whatever job you do; the actual activities you engage in while at your workplace. You could have a job that you find tedious, monotonous and mind-numbing. If so, it’s not all that probable that you’re enthusiastic about returning to that activity. Should you have a job that is stimulating and rewarding, you just might be looking forward to getting back so you can contribute to something you find inspiring and productive.
Now, another way of interpreting the question could really be asking if the routine you’ve established for the two weeks during vacation time is one you are happy to exchange for the routine you had and will have again – when you are expected back at work. Whereas on vacation you might stay in bed longer, eat differently and certainly do different activities, going back to work may mean getting up earlier, commuting again, eating at prescribed times – and abandoning such activities like the mini naps during the day you found so enjoyable when you were the master of your schedule!
Well on this level, I’m not as enthusiastic about exchanging the one routine for the other. I have to admit having a leisurely breakfast on the back patio while listening to and watching the variety of birds doing the same as me is something I will truly miss. I mean here I am now up early in complete darkness; there are no birds to hear let alone see in the blackness and I shall be gone when they visit my backyard gardens.
There is a great contrast too between me on vacation saying, “What shall we do today?” versus me at work saying, “What does the schedule have me doing today?” Whether I am happy with what the schedule says I’m responsible for on any given day or not, I’m still bound to do what the schedule has me down to do. Many workers have repetitive employment; doing the same thing day in and day out, and the schedule is always the same. At least my schedule is varied, and changes from day to day or week to week. But over one’s vacation time, you do what you want with the time you’ve got.
I am as I said looking forward to going back to work today. I wonder a number of things as I sit here at home, work just 2 1/2 hours from now. What’s changed since I left on vacation? We’ve got new employees on our team over that interval of time and so I wonder how they’ll fit in and how they’ll add to and change the dynamics of our team. I think about the people that I was helping to nail down employment and wonder how many of them have been successful.
Then I think about my co-workers and their vacations, wondering if they will even be at work when I return or perhaps off on their own holidays. It’s predictable, but everyone will invariably ask, “So how was your vacation; what did you do?”
I always find these discussions interesting. Get a group of people together and someone is aiming to have the most exciting story to tell, another the most distant location visited, the most daring adventure or the personal milestones realized. Then there’s the person who went nowhere special, went on some daytrips but like the others spent it doing exactly what they wanted. This I think is the secret to a satisfying vacation; spend it your way, doing your thing and enjoy your time whatever you choose to do with it.
If you are like me, you’ll perhaps notice that some of your co-workers come back from vacation and then make comments like they need a vacation to recover from their vacation. They may even go so far as to take days off unscheduled, just to recover. Should we need time to ‘recover’ from our vacation? Hmm… You might even see them walk around zombie-like at work for three days, just trying to get through that first week back, not being as productive as they will be the following week.
As for me, at 57 years of age I know retirement is approaching – and I figure that’s about 8 years or so away. I have to admit that I’ve sat on that patio in my garden and as I’ve ate my breakfast I’ve thought that I could quite get used to sitting out there each morning with a high degree of comfort and happiness. However, in the here and now, I’m not ready for that on a full-time basis. I’m back in ‘work’ mode and positive about heading back to work. It will be good to see the co-workers, the boss and of course those people I serve daily.
Of course, I’m looking forward to my next vacation iwhich is a week off at the start of September; well, you can’t blame a guy for looking ahead to find out when he’s off next can you?