When you have a job that you don’t like, you begin each day thinking about lunch, each Monday thinking about the weekend and each week thinking about the next three-day weekend. And during this time of year, you start thinking about when you are going to be taking your vacation. In a lot of places in corporate America, you need to pick your days for the year in January. They won’t be set in stone but it is important to identify any scheduling conflicts with co-workers as soon as possible. Who is going to have to work the day after Thanksgiving? Who is taking the days before Christmas? The days after Christmas?
Vacation is probably my second favorite thing about my job. (The paycheck is first.) I get four weeks plus a couple personal days and I think, in general, that is pretty good. I’m pretty sure that I would take a worse job if they were offering six weeks vacation. For eight weeks vacation, I would consider taking a pay cut.
Soon after selecting my vacation days, I start thinking about where to go for my main vacation. A lot of my vacation days will be taken up here and there, day trips and family obligations. But each year the wife and I like to go away for a week somewhere. We haven’t decided where to go this year.
The choice is usually between someplace we’ve already been and loved and someplace we haven’t been but may end up loving. Do we choose Paris, with the great food and the pleasant people or do we take a chance on Croatia? Do we go back to Ecuador or is this the year we finally go to Peru?
I’d like to go back to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United, but I’m not sure I want to go back to England. We could combine the trip to Manchester with a visit to Ireland. Unfortunately, unlike in Iceland where we went last year, Ireland can’t devalue its currency and make the trip more cost effective.
The only problem with always looking forward to the next relief (lunch, the weekend, vacation) is that these things take on too much importance in your mind. The best lunch can never be as good as what I’ll hope it’ll be when I imagining it at 9:01. The weekend disappears in a flash and before I know it it’s Sunday night and I’m getting anxious about having to get mentally prepared for another week of work. And the dirty secret about a week of vacation is that you are twice as busy in the week before you leave and when you come back, all the things you hoped would be taken care of while you were gone are still there.
I know its churlish to complain about things about which other people may wish they could complain. Still, we can only manufacture problems out of the circumstances of our own lives. No doubt I’ll be complaining later this year that the water pressure in the hotel shower was inadequate. I just need to decide where that will be.