On Vacation – How Getting Away From Work Makes You A Better Employee

Next week, I’m on vacation from my station. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a full week off from work, but my guess is probably around ten or eleven months. I love my job, and I’m not exactly planning anything too exciting with my family next week, but I’m looking forward to the break.

When you are starting out in broadcast meteorology, it might be hard to get in that first week’s vacation. Not only are you limited to time off in your first year or two, chances are that you are spending your summer filling in for everyone else (thanks, Ian). It can be a little stressful, especially around the summer holidays when it seems like the rest of the world is headed to the family gathering or vacation destination, and you are stuck cooking in the weather office. I’ve been there.

But everyone deserves a break, and I think that by the time you come back, you’re actually a better employee by having that time. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Time off refuels your creativity. The best way to figure out a problem at work is to give it a little space. Sometimes by not thinking about it, and spending some time doing something else, the answer will come. Coming back from a week off will give you a fresh perceptive on your weather office to-do list. Believe me, it will still be there when you get back.

You give yourself time for different projects. Even if you are going somewhere on vacation, new experiences will change the way you think about things, and work will always feel a little different when you return. If you don’t plan on going very far in your week away, there are likely all sorts of little projects, books and blogs you’ve been meaning to get to. You finally have the time for that, and having those opportunities will open you up to discover new things.

You’ll be happy to get back. This might be debatable, but I’ll argue that by the end of the vacation, you’ll be ready to get back to work. We do what we do because we love it, and there is a lot of sacrifice that goes in to it. A little time away might give you a better appreciation of the work you do when you get back to work on Monday.

Time away will give you more ideas, more focus, and a better outlook when you return. My plan is to stay off the work email, Facebook and Twitter next week. I might check it once or twice so it doesn’t take me an entire day to clean out the inbox when I get back. I’d still like to update the blog, but I’ll see what I get inspired to do. I hope everyone gets a chance this summer to get a little free time. If we run with our heads down for too long, we might look up and wonder where we are.

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