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Disconnecting Completely While On Vacation? 155

vonsneerderhooten asks: "This summer, I took a week-long vacation, left my cell phone at home and enjoyed the liberation of being completely disconnected from the (working) world. Recently, I came upon an article stating that many people don't take vacations longer than a long weekend. Worse still, a majority are worrying about work, calling the office and checking e-mail. How far removed are you when on vacation? To what lengths will you go to make yourself (un)available?"
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Disconnecting Completely While On Vacation?

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  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:17PM (#16975836) Homepage Journal
    When I think of vacations, I think of vacating -- leaving something empty of... me! A weekend trip is not a vacation; it takes me about 24 hours after landing to fully appreciate that I've left. It takes me 24 hours before the take-off flight to mentally prepare myself for returning. That means 48 hours is the prep time each way, at least in my experience. I need at least 10 days to truly appreciate a vacation -- and that means no cell phone, e-mail or web.

    I take trips all the time, at least 2-3 trips a month. I always take my cell and PDA with me, but I usually leave the web behind. If I am taking a short trip, it is non-web business related, and I write off as much as legally possible. But if I start jumping online, that business trip becomes inefficient for me, and I don't get my work done, so even with a write-off it is still a financial loss.

    I can not imagine NOT taking 2-3 weeks off each quarter for a real vacation. What prevents people from doing that? I hear it from friends who are overworked (usually because they are over-indebted): they can't leave because they'll miss something important at work. I never heard of this before because I always make sure that my future replacement in my position is trained for handling any emergencies when I am gone. I guess too many people are too protective of their position -- this usually means they see the future as a dead end or they see their abilities as plateaud. In this case, not taking a vacation really means they are just trying to hold ground.

    I can't think of a single project that my expertise is needed on for the entire project, or even 50% of it. If you are good at handling emergencies, people will pay you just to be around holding their hand during non-emergencies. This is the opposite of expendable, and it also opens up your schedule for vacations -- real ones.

    If your life doesn't allow for it, what are you doing even bothering to live? What is so important that a vacation would create a risk/reward ratio that is out of whack? For many, I think you have to look at lifestyle -- is your house so big that being out of work for one year will hurt you? Sell it. Are your monthly expenses so big that you can't pay them for 24 months with zero income? Sell things and learn to cut expenses. Is your budget so tight that when you do have time to take off, you have to pay for the trip on credit cards and it'll take 3-10 years of future income to cover your trip? start prioritizing what is important.

    If I don't get 2-3 weeks of downtime each quarter, I am not efficient. Also, being away from work lets my customers know how much they need me when there ARE problems. The risk/reward ratio is very small -- little risk, and a huge reward from both sides: I'm personally rewarded by downtime, and I'm also rewarded if an emergency happens that I would be best at solving.

    Life is way too short to focus only on working and buying a bigger house and a bigger car and a bigger TV or video game system. Even just 3 weeks a year of downtime is barely over 6% of the year -- a very meager idea of vacationing. Then again, I think many people give 10% to God, 30% to their employer, 4% to family, 6% to themselves and 50% to the State. I guess there's the prime problem.
    • by denebian devil ( 944045 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:34PM (#16976046)
      I can not imagine NOT taking 2-3 weeks off each quarter for a real vacation. What prevents people from doing that? I hear it from friends who are overworked (usually because they are over-indebted): they can't leave because they'll miss something important at work. I never heard of this before because I always make sure that my future replacement in my position is trained for handling any emergencies when I am gone. I guess too many people are too protective of their position -- this usually means they see the future as a dead end or they see their abilities as plateaud. In this case, not taking a vacation really means they are just trying to hold ground.

      I think what usually prevents people from doing that is that most people do not receive 50 vacation days per year, which is what would approximately be required to take four 2-3 week vacations every year. Most people don't even get half that number of days, especially not until they either a) reach the upper echelons, or b) work at the same company for years/decades.

      Lucky you!
      • by dada21 ( 163177 ) *
        I think what usually prevents people from doing that is that most people do not receive 50 vacation days per year, which is what would approximately be required to take four 2-3 week vacations every year. Most people don't even get half that number of days, especially not until they either a) reach the upper echelons, or b) work at the same company for years/decades.

        I'm sure you're right, which is why I said even just 2-3 weeks a year is a start, but most don't even take that (or use it in double-day short
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bhima ( 46039 )
        People make their own decisions:

        They choose to accept 2 weeks per year holiday.
        They choose to work in an environment which will not allow their absence.
        They choose to consume to such an extent they are required to work the amount they work.
        They choose to purchase these things on credit so they are indebted to a third party.

        I'll be the first to say that the capitalist system is virtually designed to create this situation but it is by no means the on
        • People make their own decisions:

          They choose to accept 2 weeks per year holiday.
          They choose to work in an environment which will not allow their absence.
          They choose to consume to such an extent they are required to work the amount they work.
          They choose to purchase these things on credit so they are indebted to a third party.

          I'll agree with you about over-consumption and overuse of credit, but that's not what's being discussed. As for your fi

          • I get as many days off per year as I like and I'm not living off a trust fund. I'm a freelance photographer and most of the work I do is For Hire and scheduled well out in advance. If I don't want to work in July I just don't schedule anything.

            Even better, many of my assignments involve going to far flung places where my cell phone won't even work and WiFi hotspots have never been heard of. Even when I'm working I'm half on vacation. The downside is that there is a very real danger of being kidnapped and se
          • by bhima ( 46039 )
            Nope not a student not trust fund kid... to old for both.

            I'm not a contractor and I'm not all that high paid (I've swapped raises for more time off 60% of the time for the last 10 years)

            I made choices, just like every else does. Only difference is I chose not to be part of the consumer culture and I chose to be a big part of my kid's life.

            Nothing special, nothing sinister, nothing unattainable.

            The real problem is not very many people even try. Honestly that's all I did... I asked.

            Yes I do live in a nice w
        • Myself, I get around 100 days per year off...
          Me too. I call them "weekends".
      • Yeah, no kidding. Where I work, I started out with two weeks seven years ago, and have just worked myself up to three weeks. There are companies with more generous vacation policies, sure ... but not that much better. Not fifty days better. I don't know where the GP lives, but I doubt it's in the U.S.
    • by gigne ( 990887 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:41PM (#16976118) Homepage Journal
      If your life doesn't allow for it, what are you doing even bothering to live?
      Thanks for the encouragement, please excuse me while I hang myself.

      Are your monthly expenses so big that you can't pay them for 24 months with zero income?

      Is this the fabled 2 year buffer in the bank account? I don't know any one person who doesn't have to work the arse off to make enough money to live. I agree that some people spend more money than needed on non essential items, but competition in the market is so great that even cutting those out (internet/tv/phone) makes little difference. If I got rid of non-essentials, I would cut my (admittedly higher than average) income by little more than £100/m That would take me approx 18 years to make that two year buffer.

      There are some eye opening statistics here http://www.poverty.org.uk/summary/key_facts.htm [poverty.org.uk]

      Unless you earn the top brass money, you have to live as the cash flows in.

      Back on topic... The above is related. People put so much emphasis on work because it is their lifeline to living. If you can afford to let your work ethic slip, then you either don't care about income, or are too rich to worry. When I go away I have to at least check my phone messages once a day, even with the trained monkey in my place things can still go wrong. It's a tragic fact of society that things need to be fixed yesterday, unfortunately this seeps into holiday time.

      My 2p
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dada21 ( 163177 ) *
        You pay too much in taxes, regulations, tariffs and other regulatory costs in the UK, so more people are poor. That's a fact that we don't see charts for.

        I live in the US in what most would consider "substandard" to what the average Joe has. I sold my huge house and bought a few used (and fully depreciated) mobile homes (paid off). I sold my huge new cars and bought nice solid used ones (paid off). I downsized my utilities (more efficient windows and roof means lower energy bills, intelligent lighting m
        • by psmears ( 629712 )

          You pay too much in taxes, regulations, tariffs and other regulatory costs in the UK, so more people are poor. That's a fact that we don't see charts for.

          Really? [duke.edu] Are you sure? [guardian.co.uk]

          I'll admit that I haven't conducted a thorough survey, but a quick google for "poverty statistics uk us" would suggest otherwise...

      • by Tim C ( 15259 )
        When I go away I have to at least check my phone messages once a day, even with the trained monkey in my place things can still go wrong.

        Dude, you're on holiday - it's not your problem. If your colleagues can't cope without you, it's better that the management team realise that quickly and either train them up or replace them; otherwise, you'll be stuck wasting your precious holiday time working. No-one lies on their death bed, wishing they'd spent more time in the office.

        It's a tragic fact of society that
        • by gigne ( 990887 )
          yeah, I couldn't agree more with your comment. What I was trying to say was that I at least need to be contactable just in case something really bad happens. If shit really hits the fan, then the most you will get is 5 minutes on the phone for guidance. Last time I was away someone had to phone me for the admin password for my dev box, as a patch I was working on hadn't been committed to SVN, and turned out that it was needed. Rather than re-implement they called me. This was an unforseeable event, and one
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Life is way too short to focus only on working and buying a bigger house and a bigger car and a bigger TV or video game system
      With you right up until there ...
    • by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:05PM (#16976382)
      The problem is systematic mismanagement. In today's world, if you're not fighting a fire, you're a slacker that needs to be removed. Most corporate-type employees live in a world a paranoia, fear and incompetence. Concepts like cross-training and delegating work are signs of weakness to many. Looking busy and in the loop is more important than reality.

      I take 6 weeks of vacation a year, and rarely check email on the weekends unless I'm on-call. When I'm out, other people take on some of my duties. When other people are out, I do the same.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PygmySurfer ( 442860 )
      t takes me about 24 hours after landing to fully appreciate that I've left. It takes me 24 hours before the take-off flight to mentally prepare myself for returning

      I feel sorry for you. As soon as I leave the office, I'm in vacation-mode. I'm especially saddened by the 24 hours preparing for return, why cut your vacation short? Get back into work mode on THEIR time, not yours.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ag0ny ( 59629 )
      I can not imagine NOT taking 2-3 weeks off each quarter for a real vacation. What prevents people from doing that?

      Living in Japan, for example. I've got 11 days/year.
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:21PM (#16976562) Homepage
      I can not imagine NOT taking 2-3 weeks off each quarter for a real vacation.

      Holy crap! What magical fun Universe do you live in where everyone gets 8-12 weeks of vacation per annum?

      I live in Canada, and I've been at my job for 11+ years. I get four weeks per year. That's it. And, if I can't use it all in a fiscal year, I lose what I don't consume, so I don't have a chance of building up a bunch over a few years.

      I'm sure the rest of us would dearly love to have 2-3 weeks per quarter to take a vacation, and the cash to go someplace and call it a real vacation. I would suggest that for the majority of people out there, that much vacation is a friggin' pipe dream!!

      You are either really lucky, or really sheltered from the reality that the rest of us live in. I envy you!

      Cheers
      • by ColaMan ( 37550 )
        You poor bastard. And that goes for the rest of you serfs too.

        I work in an underground mine as an Auto Electrician, fixing heavy mining equipment. Everything is trending towards electronic control - engine and transmission controls, payload systems, CANbus vehicle control, loader remote (wireless) control systems and fully-autonomous, no-one's-driving, loaders. This kind of work satisfies the geek in me nicely. Pay is double the Australian average, job is challenging and not a fixed routine and I enjoy what
    • by theJML ( 911853 )

      I can not imagine NOT taking 2-3 weeks off each quarter for a real vacation. What prevents people from doing that? I hear it from friends who are overworked (usually because they are over-indebted): they can't leave because they'll miss something important at work. I never heard of this before because I always make sure that my future replacement in my position is trained for handling any emergencies when I am gone. I guess too many people are too protective of their position -- this usually means they see

    • by tsa ( 15680 )
      Are your monthly expenses so big that you can't pay them for 24 months with zero income? Sell things and learn to cut expenses.

      You either earn a LOT of money or you live very cheap. I don't know anyone who can afford to live for two years without an income.
    • I can not imagine NOT taking 2-3 weeks off each quarter for a real vacation. What prevents people from doing that?

      Not have 12 weeks off a year, never mind the money to go on all those holidays?

      What is so important that a vacation would create a risk/reward ratio that is out of whack?

      I find that by not going missing for 12 weeks a year I can have this thing called a 'job', which means I can live in a house rather than on the streets, and can eat fresh food rather than out of a dumpster.

      Oh and by not spending

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:19PM (#16975860) Homepage Journal
    Lately I've been leaving a message like this on my voicemail:

    Hi, this is John. I'll be out of the office until <date>. If you need to get in touch with me before then, please reconsider your options.

    But my all-time favorite was the one I recorded before leaving on a family trip. "Hi. I'm on vacation for three weeks until <date>. If you need to get hold of me, please dial Scotland and ask for John."

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Criminals love those kinds of messages. "Yay, guaranteed no one at home for so long - time for some burglary!"

      • by plover ( 150551 ) *
        Criminals love those kinds of messages. "Yay, guaranteed no one at home for so long - time for some burglary!"

        Yeah, come to my work and rob my cube. Take all my work away. I'll weep, I promise.

        I don't ever change my home message. I still have the generic robot voice saying something generic, like: HELLO. WE ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO TAKE YOUR CALL RIGHT NOW. PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER THE BEEP. *BEEP*.

      • Criminals love those kinds of messages. "Yay, guaranteed no one at home for so long - time for some burglary!"
        Not a problem for me: I'm on the Burglar Union's do-not-call list.

        Seriously, I sometimes put "I'm on vacation" messages on my home answering machine, and my friends have freaked out saying the same thing you did. But when was the last time you got a phone call from a burglar trolling for vacationing homeowners?
  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:22PM (#16975890)
    ...if I thought that would stop them from calling.

    But it wouldn't.
  • What I do. (Score:2, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 )

    A few weeks at the Betty Ford Clinic is a great way to disconnect.
    • After I "disconnect" from work for a week I normally need a few weeks at the Betty Ford Clinic to reconnect.
  • I've taken plenty of holidays this year, 3 weeks to the Cabibbean, 1 week to Prague, and 2 weeks to Sweden. (Yes I have 8 weeks of Holiday leave a year)
    I did take my mobile phone with me on those holidays, not for staying in contact with my work, but to stay in contact with those who stayed at home and because of some organisational work I do for my orchesta in my free time.

    So do I completely disconnect - Yes and No
    Yes - I do completely disconnect from work,
    No - I do not completely disconnect from those I l
  • When I go on vacation, I just make sure my coworkers know I'm away so they can handle any new problems, and I make sure the projects I'm working on can hold still for a couple of days. If people check email while they're away, it's really their own doing. Plan ahead, disconnect, and just deal with a busy Monday when you get back.

    Granted, I haven't been on a long vacation in three years. Most of mine are three days here and there, but the same concepts apply. My last vacation to Mexico with some buddie

  • Aside from a few co-workers I would consider friends, I'm pretty well unavailable when on vacation. I will shut off the cell phone and leave behind if I can. I might check my e-mail, but probably not. I won't spend more than 5-10 minutes a day looking at any of it, even if there's a critical project.

    Chances are, the building could burn down, the company move, or whatever, and I wouldn't know it while I'm away. Even better, now that I telecommute, I may well not realise it when I get back.

    • by plover ( 150551 ) *
      Heh. Every time I come back from vacation, I consider it a mini-game of roulette to see if my door access card will let me into the building. You never know if this will be the time they choose budget cuts, or if they find out about Slashdot during working hours... :-)
      • One time I came back on a Monday from a week-long trip, and discovered that I'd just missed "Black Friday", when 10% of the staff was laid off. "Hey, where's Patty? And Jeff? And... do I need to go see the boss, or should I get to work?"
    • When I go on vacation (at least one that I plan myself), the only way to communicate with me would probably involve the use of a search-and-rescue team to find me. This past June I disappeared from the grid for 10 days on Isle Royale, a wilderness preserve in Lake Superior. I told my family I'd bring my cell phone (powered off) in case of emergency, but A) it's notoriously hard to get a signal there, and B) I lied. The only integrated circuits I took with me were in my camera.

      As for that "worrying about
  • Week long vacation last month. The only reason I took the laptop was to have somewhere to offload the hundreds of photos I took. The kids surfed and played games. Check work email? Ha.
  • I recommend reading this book [oreilly.com] for this little bit of precious advice (from memory, actual content may be different): "Vacation is not about checking your email every 5 minutes. Vacation is about not thinking about work at all. Vacation is not an inconvenience, it's something that will allow you to rest, disconnect and come back completely relaxed and un-stressed to your desk. It's not something your employer grudgingly grant you, it's something he knows you need to be more productive".

    Read the book. It has
  • My vacations are riding my bike somewhere, anywhere. I take my cell phone but leave it off. On the schedule for next year is http://www.bicycletourcolorado.com/ [bicycletourcolorado.com]. Get up everyday, ride, meet people and then at night, drink some beer. Work never crosses my mind on these trips.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Went on a 3&1/2 week trip to the other side of the world last year.
    Left the laptop at home
    Brought my cell phone (Razr V3, quad band, all that good stuff)

    Let the office know that if they wanted to reach me it'd be between the hours of 12pm (noon) and 6pm Manila time (12am midnight to 6am eastern), that I would be charging my recall overtime rate (hourly * 3), any time I was working would not be considered "time off" (saving vacation hours) and they would be paying my cell phone bill for that month ($3.98
    • You can do this on a cruise. The phone rates are high enough for them to leave you the hell alone. And I can vacation well in 2 days. It just takes two good days!
  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:37PM (#16976090)
    All it takes is a commitment to disconnect and to stick to it. I go to a cabin on a lake about 4 hours out of town. I go on weekends, and regularly take two two week vacations. I have electricity and plumbing there, but no net connection or cell service. The phone number there, I only give to family for emergencies.

    When I go there, I finish my work before I go, and leave it at work. As far as work is concerned, there is no phone there. I ain't telling. As well, when they ask how they can get a hold of me, I give them directions that will take them to the lake shore with instructions to bring a boat.

    That does the job.
  • I would love to reply to your post, but I'm on vacation right now (disconnected completely).
  • i go to another country and my cellphone stays at home. i check email once a week.

    all that because i don't like being overworked.
  • Even after a healthy two week remooote island vacation in Malaysia this summer, I had to go the first internet café when back on the mainland... I'm a /. sucker. Sigh.
  • My Honeymoon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bryanporter ( 847667 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:45PM (#16976172) Homepage
    I've had a real problem with this; I definitely feel my anxiety level increase whenever I am "disconnected" for any length of time. Case in point: my honeymoon.

    We honeymooned in Hawaii (Maui), and while there I stayed up on email via my Treo, corresponding with people back at the office. I took great care to make sure that I did this while my wife was asleep, or at other times when we weren't together. Still, when my boss discovered that I had been reviewing code for my team while on my honeymoon he immediately had my phone's data service disconnected. At first, I was rather frustrated at being cut off, but after about 24 hours I just left the damn phone in my suitcase. In the end, my vacation was better for it.

    Disconnecting is definitely a tough thing to do for extremely connected people, but it's well worth it if you can manage the first 24 hours of information drought. I was more relaxed, less concerned with time; basically, everything that I should've been doing while on vacation in the first place.

    Of course, I also had 2300 emails when I got back. ;-)

    Regards,
    Bryan Porter
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Reading your first few sentences, I was all ready to respond saying what a terrible waste of a trip to such a beautiful place.

      I'm glad there ended up being a happy ending. You may very well have one of the best bosses in the world.

      Go thank him right now, go ahead, I'll wait.

      Outside of some romantic surprise, you souldn't be hiding anything from your wife on your honeymoon, ANYTHING. Your honeymoon is one time in your life that should be 100% about you and your wife, if you were spending your time sneaking
    • 'when my boss discovered that I had been reviewing code for my team while on my honeymoon he immediately...'

      got in touch with your new wife for a weekend of fun...?

      On your honeymoon? You need help, my friend
    • by div_2n ( 525075 )
      Wish I had that problem. On my honeymoon on Oahu a few weeks ago, my family got a call (from emergency contact list) who then got in touch with me at the resort. I just so happened to bring a laptop because the wife had to take a test for an online course she was taking while we were there.

      The problem? A print queue on an old AIX box had locked up. We had a high priced consulting agency on call to fill in for me (I'm the alpha and the omega of the IT department), but they couldn't seem to do it. Took me 5 m
  • Im currently on thanksgiving vacation, I brought a full desktop PC to arizona from florida, purchased a dialup account, and am spending about 6 hours a day working from this PC even during thanksgiving with my family as Deadlines must be met. I also spend 2-3 hours a day in the apartment complex's internet faciltiies to make use of their high speed connection.

    I've spent atleast an hour of every day ive been here on the phone discussing business related matters with coworkers, clients, and associates.

    This is
    • You aren't on vacation. You're just telecommuting for two weeks. As a manager, you should have scheduled whatever projects you have on the go so that there was a two week period with no major milestones, or deadlines, etc. You should be able to delegate your responsibilities. If you can't do that then your manager has a problem on his or her hands: an employee who refuses to relax, refuses to delegate tasks, who thinks they are indispensable to the company, and who is working themselves into an early gr
  • by greenmars ( 685118 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @12:48PM (#16976220)
    Reading the comments here about turning off your cellphone, not checking email, etc., makes me wonder if there are any system administrators reading this thread.

    My peace of mind is dependent on 16 servers in a server room. If all of those are working, then it's my executive director's wireless connection I have to worry about. In fact, anyone at work with a laptop is bound to have a network "problem" once a week, usually having to do with switching between home, hotel, work, etc.

    Some day, I'll find a reliable "number two" person, but until then, it's 24-7. Real vacations are a distant memory -- 20 years ago during college summers.
    • My thoughts exactly!

      I was an intern for the public sector not too long ago, and even though it wasn't particularly my job to babysit the servers, I felt more comfortable being able to check the backup jobs, make sure everything was alive, et cetera, after I left the office.

      The only real cure for that is to have more than one sysadmin who could get stuff done and rotate out paranoia-time. Then they gave me a blackberry... The only times I wasn't in nazi-paranoia mode was when the battery died and on public
    • by debest ( 471937 ) on Friday November 24, 2006 @02:38PM (#16977204)
      .. because personally I wouldn't want to do business with an outfit that would fall apart because of the absence of a single employee. That is what would happen, isn't it? Your presence is critical to the operation of the business, and if a "problem" occured while you were unavailable, the entire operation would crumble. Right?

      No? You mean that you would, in fact, be able to leave for a week and come back to find the building still occupied by employees, phones still ringing, sales still being made, etc.?

      Face it: you're not THAT important. If you were hit by a bus, you'd be replaced. Business would continue without you. If they can replace you in that circumstance, they can figure out a way for you to have a vacation. The fact that they are not indicates you like never having a vacation (you're a control freak), or you don't like it and your "executive director" and his coworkers are abusive dicks for not allowing you to arrange vacation time.

      Either way, your company is being very shortsighted, and cannot see that they are going to be sorry when you *do* stop working there (regarless of the circumstances of your departure). True, you're not irreplacable, but they're still going to be hurt by your not having an effective team under you.
    • by coaxial ( 28297 )
      What you're saying sounds like you're being responsible, but you're actually being a fool. You have convinced yourself that happiness is a somehting that you can't afford. You've become obsessed. Trust me. The executive director isn't worring about you while going down the slopes in Vail, why should you worry about him?

      If you were hit by a bus today, the company would go on. You're completely replaceable. Take advantege of that.

      Still not convicned? Let me put it in terms of enlightened self interest.
  • When I go on a vacation (regardless of the time, from a long weekend to a two week trip to Europe) I disconnect completely. I work at home and am constantly in contact with my partners via email and cell, but when I leave for vacation I leave all that behind, and am entirely "unavailable". It is liberating. The only problem is wading through millions of SPAMs when I get back.
  • Given the choice I'd like to have the option of reading mail, surfing the internet, and using a computer whilst on holiday, but I can live without it.

    I guess there are two questions here:

    • Can you go away with no network access.
    • Should you be contactable by work / reading work mail whilst away.

    The first I'd say "yes I can, but I don't want to". I find that with no net connection I do miss it, things like looking up actors on IMDB if I've been to the cinema, etc, so I would prefer to take a laptop away w

  • When I was on holiday recently, I did check my work email once from my wife's friends' place and was delighted to see that there'd been another Deployment From Hell. The therapeutic part was that I wasn't involved in it this time.
  • WTF? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 )
    My idea of vacation is someplace where I can go to "connect".

    LK
  • by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <techstar25&cfl,rr,com> on Friday November 24, 2006 @01:10PM (#16976450) Homepage Journal
    There is a little place I go to in upstate NY that is so nestled in the mountains that they can't get cable TV and don't get any broadcast TV stations either. Cell phones won't because there are no towers for miles. Most people don't bother with satellite because they are only there a few months per year. Imagine no TV and no internet. It's just me and my wife and a few board games, and some jigsaw puzzles, and of course the lake. Not only can you re-connect with your own soul, but you also get to re-connect with your spouse in a deeper way. It's also a great chance to catch up on a great book or two that's been collecting dust on the shelf. I highly recommend it.
  • My last vacation, I did not check my email or the web. I had a cell phone, but used it only to check the time. I did watch TV, but tried to aviod the news. Does that count?

    I will say it was probably one of the better vacations I have had in a long time. The last time I did a vacation like that was when I graduated from college, and went on a diving trip. All I did on that vacation was wakeup, dive, eat, drink beer, and sleep. In that order ;-).

  • my vacations come at near random, I tell no one at work where I'm going, when I'm going, and if I'm even coming back. See, my objective is to keep work worrying about me, not the other way around.
    Someday maybe I'll leave at an odd hour on a tuesday morning and leave a note from "the competitors" (whoever they may be at the time) stating that if they ever want to see their valuable R&D guy again to wire X amount of dollars into Y swiss bank account. Just maybe.
  • I tell my boss my sister's phone number and tell him that it is only for extreme emergencies. I give my sister the phone number of the hotel I'll be staying at with very specific instructions. If I get a phone call while I'm on vacation, I expect there to be someone dead or on their death bed. If I can find an Internet cafe where I'm at, I may connect to my Gmail or Yahoo account to email a picture or two to a small group of friends, but other than that, computers and phones don't exist.
  • Heed ye the example of Steve S. (his real name) who saved up 3 weeks one year, and added it to 3 weeks from the next so he could finally take his 6 week dream vacation. The company got along fine without him for those 6 weeks, so they figured "what do we need him for anyhow" and canned him upon his return.
  • I make it a point never to contact work when I'm on holiday. One reason is that there's no point, since I won't be able to solve any issues that may come up since I don't carry the several GB of data I'd need for that. I've had a few bad experiences, checking in during a vacation only to find a nastygram I couldn't do anything about until I returned to the office. These days, I make sure beforehand that a colleague can cover for me, and then I pull the plug completely. I won't check company e-mail, and the
  • I go backcountry camping where gsm and fm signals do not get through. On longer trips lasting 3 days or more, I start getting anxious fidgeting my fingers on the canoe paddles. Its like a smokers withdrawal. I start wondering how will I read all those slashdot articles, all those missed first posts etc. Missing new deals on tigerdirect, sparkfun etc.

    I usually drive back 40 over the speed limit.
  • ...It's working in a different direction.
  • Unfortunately I just started a new job back in April and because of their lame policies, I don't get any vacation (Other than the small handful of holidays everyone gets) until January. Even then, I only get two weeks vacation.

    However, in the past, and when I do have the day off (because fortunately I work 4 10 hour days each week) I most certainly do not think about work. Occasionally if I have a particular coding issue that I'm stumped on I'll work through that in my head in my downtime but for the most p
  • Are two great activities to take up when you are on vacation.

    My boss doesn't want me taking my cell phone with me to 100 feet deptsh.

    But seriously, work still has an expectation that I will be magically available in the event that something should go wrong. This can be considered a good thing in that I'm recognized as something they probably don't want to fire at the next right-sizing cycle. However, I do have a tendency of going places there no phone has gone before. In part, that's what I enjoy as a

  • When I am on vacation - work is as far from my mind as I can put it (quite a distance!). We do take cell phones though - for emergency (ours or something wrong at home with the cats) and convenience. Actually this year we were away for 3 solid weeks, and some of the places we were - a CB would have been more practical for emergencies.

    I never touch a computer on vacation, no internet cafe's at least - occasionally the spouse wants to send someone like her mom an email from a PC in a hotel lobby or the old fa
  • You just have to make sure your 'dead man's switch' doesn't activate while you're on vacation. Just to contradict that, activating it might be a good thing so some people :D
  • Tragic. Worse is the syndrome where vacations are totally stressful because you have to get so many things done before you leave, and will be indundated in fires when you get back. Gross mismanagement, in other words.

    I provide emergency contact info when I travel, but it's always on a "this had better be important" basis. In 6 years they've used it once. Yes, it was important.

    Vacations are supposed to be just that: vacations. I'm going to Costa Rica for a week in February to look at stars [tq-international.com], and won't ev

  • Part of the problem with taking long vacations (or vacations at all) is the way many employers classify their employees.

    I work 50+ hour weeks with insane hours (5:30pm to between 2 and 5am with a certain number of mandatory weekends a month, though I have responsibilities that require me to be in the office every Friday, Saturday and Sunday). I don't get vacation days, or sick days, or health insurance. In fact, my company classifies me as a part-time (ha), freelance employee. The thing is, if I WERE sa

  • I've been reading all the posts on this thread, and wanted to reply to each and every one of them. I don't think I've been this wound up in a long time, some posts on here really made my blood boil. Whether its the ignorance, the stupidity, or just plain naivety, I don't know. In my mind it really comes down to two different work (worker?) types, of course with variations and exceptions.

    The first type are what I call the "John 'Maddog' Hall-ites", no offense meant to the big man. Whether it be by luck,
  • I'm an advocate of unplugging from work when you're on vacation, however, if it makes you miserable to do so, DON'T. If someone would have a more enjoyable vacation by checking email to make sure things haven't melted down, who am I to say they shouldn't.

    I should point out that while I say I "advocate" unplugging, I myself don't. If I'm laying in my hotel bed in the middle of the night checking my mail over the VPN, who does it hurt? How is it making my trip worse? I stop there though, I won't actual
  • by tsa ( 15680 )
    Recently I had to go to the hospital for a small operation. So I called in sick and went there. Due to complications I was not at work for over six weeks. I read my work-email but I didn't reply to it. And the best part was, when colleagues called me they wouldn't talk about work! "Get better first", they told me.

    I love my job and the people I work with.
  • In my last job I was required to carry a cell phone at all times - one of the Nextel phones with the push-to-talk feature. I deliberately went on vacation in places where the cell phone wouldn't work or I wasn't "allowed" to take it: other continents, up in the mountains, etc.

    But I knew a lot of guys who just took a week off, stayed around home, and left their cell phone on and even took calls. I'd never to that. I would also never call a person on vacation. Nobody is that important. Once you realize t
  • I don't mind a few interrupts coming in. Last year, I had a vacation, and we stayed in a cozy resort playing with the fireplace. Yeah, stuff happened. I had to talk someone through replacing a malfunctioning UPS, for instance. It was okay, though; the rest of the time, I didn't have to do anything. I've done some writing while on vacation, and it doesn't bug me; a lot of the vacation thing is knowing that I don't have to work, but since I enjoy writing, sometimes I do anyway. Fine by me.
  • I check my work email even when I'm a longer vacation, because otherwise I'll reach my Exchange server limit and then bounce something that I'll regret having missed. Most of it on vacation is non-relevant, so mostly it's just a matter of cleaning up. (In July while on vacation, though, checking my email gave me the chance to get a ridiculously expensive grill for a song. I won't go into details; I'm just thrilled that I wasn't incommunicado).

    For phone, I actually don't mind staying in touch because I reque
  • What's the most reason people stay in jobs they hate? "Well, I have a family to think about . . . " That's right, once you decide to make a genetic copy of yourself, then they really have you.

    A lot of the world's problems would be solved if people would simply stop having kids for awhile. Me, I live a childfree [childfree.net] lifestyle and couldn't be happier. The only regret I have about getting fixed [no-scalpelvasectomy.com] is that I didn't do it sooner.
  • Impossible. Internet is my lifeline.

    Tons of once-acquintance, now very close friends who have been met over the internet, clients, colleagues, buddies, communities, relatives are in it.

    even if you are thousands of miles away from each other it still creates a feeling of being together. there are times that you feel the need to actually close down all instant messengers in order to feel 'alone'. theres some connection with the people on your list who never message you, you never message them, but you s
  • I'm not quite sure I understand what is being asked. Are you saying that there are people who take vactions then still call the office and check their work email everyday? Why would you do that? Unless it's a very small company, every job has at least one competant backup. Management signed off on your vactions time, that means everything is under control and you can forget work and enjoy life. Even if it isn't under control, it isn't likely isn't your responsability. Do I sound cynical? Hey, my company has

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