The Urban Legend Of The Business Woman Who Took A Vacation

Like many urban legends, I am quite confident that actually taking time off and not working on vacation if you own your own business is an impossible reality. Actually, if you own your own business and you have a trusted staff, you may have more luck. But for me and my party of one... Not including the cats of course, going away is proving to just provide me another remote location, although beautiful to work.

This frustrates me in many levels. For one, I pride myself in working with the most awesome clients. Then, why are these most awesome people ignoring my vacation auto responder? Why are they saying the dreaded phrase....I know you are on vacation, but I need this done right away...Who does that? Or am I just the idiot that writes them back, takes their call and does their of wine and sunscreen in hand?

 Some things I am considering to change this maddening process:

 1. Alert the masses that you are going away. I think two weeks out is a safe barrier for people to know that you are planning to be out of commission. Doing this via a mass email is probably the easiest or you can mention it along the way.

 2. Decide what you are gonna do when you are away. You do realize that this is my fault, right? I just can't be out of reach, or answer back the emails, or do the work. I am almost writing this blog as therapy to convince myself to set up the boundaries.

3. If you have the luck and love of friends that can help you in your absence like I have in Megan and Diane. Thank your lucky stars and use them sparingly and only in a fix.

4. Set up your vacation message. Be clear where you are leaving, when you are coming back and what access you will have during this time. If you are lucky to have someone help you, you may want to give them their contact information.

5. Reevaluate these requests upon return. Think about the people that disregarded the fact that you were on vacation. If it was me, I would not work with people that say I know you are on vacation, but. Barring that their business was on fire and I have the hose...I do to want to work with those types of inconsiderate people. Would you?

 So, what do you do when you go on vacation? Pin It


  1. Sorry you have to deal with this. The electronic age has helped cause the "always in touch" mentality I think. I work in the city, and everyone is on "vacation" but they are expected to be "available" online. It is hard when you are traveling and want to have quality time with others, or just downtime for yourself. For me, I can "unplug" as my job is covered by someone else. But the stress of the emails and calls can get tiring. Hope you find some down time for YOU!

  2. This is a really good topic. I struggle with vacations. For the first time in my life, I am working for someone who requires vacations. They don't rollover, they don't accumulate, they are to be used in the year you earn them. Eeek! I honestly didn't know what to do. I wanted to be checking my email, and making sure everyone was okay. It was almost painful. I felt I was being forced to take a break - and I didn't like it. Perhaps this is one of those things that we have to learn to do. We have to learn to do things that are good for us, like learning to relax. Wow. A bit of a sad commentary on our breakneck paced society that we have bought in to - eh?

    When my husband and I owned a business, we never took time off, and we ended up burning out. I know how important downtime is, I just don't know how to do it.

    I'll look forward to hearing how you manage this.

  3. The last point is especially good! I had a boss who would call employees who were on vacation all the time - really, she just acted like they were working from home. Treating everything as an urgent priority, and never allowing anyone to relax, ensured that her team was completely burnt out when there was a real crisis.

  4. I am a paralegal and I have worked for different attorneys who handled this different ways. One told everyone as you suggest, the other did not. In the first example, I had a quiet week where I pulled and cleaned out old files. We did have one emergency, but that was dealt with by the attorney who she had arranged to cover any such events. In the other I spent a lot of time on the phone back and forth between the attorney and her clients. I know which one I preferred, and which one had happier clients. Boundaries and information are good.