‘No Vacation Nation’. Sounds about right. I haven’t taken a true vacation in a long, long time. I’ve found myself out and about, even traveling the world to some extent, but never without my laptop slung on my back and eagerly searching out the next wifi hot spot to at the very least stay on top of things so its business as usual on my return.
The CNN piece goes on to describe how we Americans work, and for better or worse, our being programed to work like drones – with no real rest from the rat race. Other countries have it right, with shorter work weeks, shorter work days, and more vacation days and weeks in any given year. In my opinion – and I’m sure there have been studies on the subject – worker-bee types are likely to be retained for longer blocks of time, hold their work with higher regard/value, and will likely produce more than those folks that America tends to burn out.
But, perhaps we are less prone to take vacation because of the fierce sense of competition instilled in our society and in the workplace. This is especially true amongst free agents, where being disconnected for hours, let alone days or weeks, means the difference between getting the job and not…perhaps today we just can’t afford to take a vacation. Free agency is very real and here to stay, so learning how to engineer this lifestyle and still catch real breaks for mental clarity are critical. This is a unique situation for everyone in those shoes, and for those of us living the life aquatic, where the dividing lines between work and play are blurred by turbulent wave action up on the beach, but it is important to figure out what constitutes a true break.
Many people present me with the idea that my job as a commercial diver is a ‘vacation’. Hardly the case, and I believe I can argue well that spending 8 hours in a cold mud hole working by braille with physics trying to kill me at every corner is no vacation. But today I gave it a harder thought…underwater is the ONLY place where I don’t think about anything except what I’m doing. While physically demanding, in some respects it is a mental break for me from this crazy terrestrial world and all of the stress that comes with human interaction. Peace and quiet and solitude – most of the time anyway. To be honest, my 10 minute freefalling descent to nearly 450 feet a couple weeks ago was the most relaxed I’ve been in quite awhile…I’m not sure what that speaks to for how much stress I take on day to day.
So, as I sit here thinking that I need a vacation just like the rest…I might very well settle for my typical day at the office, and keep my working world turning ever still.
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