Last month, we took a Spring Break trip to Florida. An admission that I wasn’t sure was ever going to be socially acceptable. We were safe and respectful (unlike the vast majority of the folks at our resort). Still, we were also very cautious in terms of posting pictures because I’m tired of people immediately asking, “Where’s your mask?”. I know it’s hard to imagine, but it’s actually not that difficult to remove your mask for a picture for approximately 4.5 seconds…roughly the amount of time it takes to get two adults and two children to smile for a snap on the iPhone.
Well, guess what, shockingly, we weren’t the only ones that went on vacation. In fact, on our shuttle from the Red Lot at CMH was a teacher from the elementary school across the street, who immediately recognized our older son. Busted! Waiting at the Southwest gate inside the terminal, I sat right next to a family from our community. How dare they? And at our resort, we met a number of families from Ohio, and even one from Bexley. No name was given, so I can’t even call them out for disobeying the federal law of no vacations.
So why should we have felt bad, or even considered trying to hide that we were traveling? Hell, the whole world is dying to travel right now. Clearly, the entire state of Ohio has gone south at some point in the last two months. None of us can take it anymore; we need out. But was it vacation???
The entire world has proven to the entire world that you can still be productive working remotely. I just recently started going into the office every day once the kids went back to school, but I worked just fine from the basement. So why can’t I work from sunny south Florida, poolside, with an umbrella in my ice water?
In the week spent at an undetermined location south of Los Olas Boulevard, I scheduled three client calls, spent one afternoon working from my balcony, worked half the flight home, and recorded at best 20 hours of paid time off. Vacation? I won’t complain, it was paradise, and I’d do it again next week if I could. But working remotely also means that you are still accessible at all hours of the day at all ends of the Earth. Vacation work, work vacation. You’re never going to be able to turn it off, not now, not ever. It’s not a nuisance by any means. You just know what needs to be done and you figure it out.
So here’s the real question…when are we all moving to unlimited paid time off? Laugh, go ahead, but some of you reading this work for companies that have already made this move. Is it that unrealistic? How many people in our profession use all of their vacation time anyway? It’s just a constant annual carryforward that ultimately becomes a mini-pension payout if/when you resign. No doubt companies would love not having to make that payout.
What is the benefit of making you keep track of your vacation time? Do companies still use PTO as a hiring and retention incentive? Mandatory one-month sabbaticals based on years of service? Now I’m listening.
Next up, the end of the charge hour as we know it. Again, it’s out there. I’d love to hear from those of you currently enjoying these luxuries. We’re all in customer service for a reason, we enjoy helping other people with our niche areas of expertise. And when I know something needs to be done for someone, the last thing on my mind is where I’m sitting while I’m doing the work, and how many hours it is going to take me. Next month, I may be posting from a blackjack table in the desert, and there’s sure to be an umbrella in my ice water.