What happens when your bosses take a vacation?

People returning to work after vacation leave often face anxiety. No matter what side of the coin they are on, most feel an undeniable sense of relief. It’s not always that they’re out of the danger zone; some fear leaving behind their loved ones who depend on them; and a pang of guilt for leaving what for most is their favorite job.

What actually comes out of most bosses’ mouths is that their job is more than taking care of the company, which is a vital job; it’s a way to occupy a time-warped place, where management exists in a vacuum and where customers call the shots, whether or not they are actually in the room. Having stayed behind to orchestrate the efforts to give their employees time to enjoy the company’s family of supporters, they were almost delighted when their charge got back to earth.

Below are edited excerpts from a few bosses’ diaries about themselves after going on vacation.

Even if we say [about the holiday], “Give ’em what they want”

“You have to trust that your organization knows the difference between a well-managed, if not rigid, vacation policy, and a vacation policy that breaks down, and you just fire everyone. The basic assumption is that all of the people who have been allowed to take vacation are competent and can do the job, regardless of performance on vacation. And if they don’t have the ‘housekeeping’ part of the job covered, firing the party on vacation is effective.” – Firefighter (one on five)

“This is my eighth year as a manager. I’ve been gone for a week or more four times since then. I finally realized it’s not a vacation if you’re there during the time that good work needs to be done. That’s a job, and you need to leave the work to your people, just as it was your job to take the vacation.”

“You know the back door has been locked from the inside, and the pay and benefits are going to get cut, but you know that if you’re there when you need to be there, you can get a pass. You can call them on the phone, or leave them a voice mail. Do it, it’s your job, too.” – Real estate broker (5 on five)

“I’m going out on an eight-day vacation this week. I think it will kill me – I’m a computer programmer. The colleagues won’t understand, the family will freak out. But I’m sure the guys will.”

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