May 21, 2009
Is your vacation stressing you out?
We all know that taking time off work for a vacation can come with its own set of stressors: The 18-hour day you have to pull before you leave just to make sure all your projects are put to bed (or is that just me?). The 97 urgent, exclamation-point-riddled e-mails waiting for you upon your return. The age-old question of whether to leave the smartphone or laptop at home -- and whether you can sever the digital leash without painful withdrawals in the first place.
In a survey released this week, international staffing agency Randstad measured just how much our vacations our getting to us. Their top findings:
Almost everyone feels the first-day-back-at-the-office burn. I know this is hardly news. But the age and gender breakdown may raise an eyebrow or two: According to Randstad, 74 percent of Generation Y workers have a hard time their first day back in the office after vacation, while 84 percent of their Gen X counterparts do.
But before you chalk this up to Gen X having more responsibility at work or Gen Y being better at balancing work with the rest of their life, get a load of these numbers: 70 percent of Boomers fall prey to first-day-back-at-work stress while 84 percent of workers age 55 and up do.
That last day in the office before vacation is a doozy. Another duh heard 'round the world, but infinitely more interesting when you consider that women have a harder time than men dealing with the storm before the vacation calm: Randstad reported that 41 percent of male workers found the last day at work prior to a vacation a big stressor, while 47 percent of their female counterparts did.
Sounds a lot like that Expedia vacation survey that found that women had more guilt than men about taking off work, doesn't it?
Almost a third of us sweat handing over our projects to someone else. Specifically, Randstad found that 35 percent of Gen Y workers get all het up about handing their work off to a colleague before a vacation, as do 32 percent of Gen Xers and 28 percent of Boomers.
Workers 55 and older, however, seem to have their priorities a bit more in order: Only 19 percent of them fret about the big pre-vacation handoff. Perhaps this is because many are in higher-level roles and intimately familiar with the fine art of delegation?
How about you? What about taking a week or more off work stresses you out the most (besides the financial hit, if you don't get paid vacation days)? What tricks do you use to help yourself transition into and out of vacation mode more smoothly? Do tell.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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