Two Tips For Your Boss When You Go On Vacation


Summer is in full swing, and many of us are enjoying long weekends, road trips, and beach getaways with family and friends. But are you taking full advantage of your vacation time? Studies show that close to half of American workers do not use all of their paid vacation time each year, despite reporting feeling overworked and overstressed. As both an employee and a manager, I’ve noticed three main reasons women don’t take advantage of their paid vacation:

Dianes trip with Annie to Costa Rica.2014.IMG_0254Many women feel like things will fall apart without them, or what I call the “Badge of Importance.” We all like to feel in control and if we want to make sure nothing goes wrong at work, we need to be there all the time, right? Unfortunately, this is the worst attitude women can have if they hope to get that next promotion. The more you allow others to step up and learn how to cover some of your job responsibilities, the more you set yourself up for the next opportunity. Too often women are overlooked for promotions because they have made themselves seem indispensable in their current role. Instead, they should be positioning themselves for the next step while empowering those under them to grow, too.

Many women don’t set boundaries. It is your responsibility to set appropriate boundaries between work and rest, and there is nothing your boss can do to force you to take a vacation. Paid vacation time in particular is a blessing, and if we don’t take the opportunity given to us to step away from work and rest, we are missing the opportunity to remain healthy, rested employees, mothers, and friends. I struggled with allowing myself time to get away from work and rest while starting 4word, but I have a great team supporting me and am trusting them to keep things moving forward while I take a ten-day vacation with my husband later this year.

Diane's trip with Christian to Salvation Army 2016.IMG_1044Many women are overworked. Ironically, feeling overworked and overstressed makes many women feel like they can’t step away from the office for even a day, let alone a week-long vacation. However, if we don’t take the opportunity to unplug and rest, we stay trapped in a vicious cycle that leads to burnout and makes us worse employees, not better.

What do these reasons for not taking time off from work have in common? Fear. Making the most of vacation time and taking the opportunity to regularly rest and recharge makes you a better employee. But when fear of not being in control at work keeps us from taking time off, we are playing into the hand of the enemy and allowing fear to rule our lives instead of trusting that everything is under God’s control. Romans 8:28 says that “We know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God has placed us in our jobs for a reason. Taking a few days off will not prevent him from doing good through you and for you in your workplace. I also find encouragement in Matthew 6:34 that reminds us not to worry about tomorrow, because each day has enough trouble of its own. Use your time off from work to bless the Lord by resting and trusting Him to take care of the details instead of relying on your own strength.

Once we overcome our fear of stepping away from the office, here are a few tips for helping our boss help you make the most of our vacation. These tips come from my friend May Busch, former COO of Morgan Stanley Europe:

Diane and Chris at Harvard business school reunion Oct 2015.IMG_0498As a manager, I have encouraged my employees to make full use of their vacation time. They always come back to the office refreshed and recharged. More often than not, their attitude and energy levels are better, helping them tackle bigger challenges at work. A good attitude can guarantee your success at work. May Busch recently interviewed Caroline Webb about how to ensure you have a good day at work, which I highly encourage you to watch!

Taking time off doesn’t just make women better employees; it also makes them better wives, mothers, and friends. The many pressures keeping all the plates spinning can harm our marriages and other relationships if we don’t step away and use vacation time to rest and recharge. Taking trips with my kids have made our relationships so much richer, too. If we don’t stay healthy, our relationships suffer. Using vacation time can help us reprioritize and ensure we are our best selves for not just our workplaces but our families and friends, too.

Above all, we must rest because God rested. Genesis tells us that “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” God set the ultimate example of rest for us. If God can rest on the seventh day, why don’t I? This is a constant battle for me, as it is for many professional women, but we honor God by resting in ways he has provided for us, including taking advantage of our vacation time.

I encourage all women to make the most of every opportunity to rest and recharge. Not only does it make you a better employee and set you up for success at work, taking vacation teaches you to maintain healthy boundaries between work and life and reminds us that God is ultimately in control. It’s not too late to cash in on that vacation time this summer. Take advantage of the gift of vacation and help yourself be the best employee, wife, mother and friend you can be.



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