Monday, July 9, 2018

Vacations Should Mean No Phone Calls

I've been on vacation this past week, doing my best to disconnect from the day-to-day schedule of my organization and relax with a day-after-day schedule of family fun and leisure activities.

It's been great. I think I've written before about my philosophy on vacations -- which is that they are meant to be enjoyed by even the busiest working professional. It is literally the only time I ever put one of the automated "out of the office" replies on my email. I'll be back next Monday. If you need a reply sooner, please call the office and ask someone there to help you. No kidding.

But not everyone, it seems, agrees with me. Sitting in the screened-in porch of our rented condo, reading a book, I couldn't help but notice a fellow vacationer in the condo two doors down, stepping out onto his back deck every ten minutes or so to take what could only be described as a business call.

"No, not this Tuesday. Next Tuesday. You and Pam have to get the plans together so we can make the presentation."

"Fifteen is not enough. We have to get seventeen fifty or the deal isn't worth doing."

"He hasn't shown enough initiative. I would speak to Bill about it. He's his supervisor. You need to keep doing what's best for you."

It's not like I was eavesdropping. I was trying to lose myself in my book, but I kept getting interrupted by one side of this guy's conversations -- all obviously focused on putting out a fire back in the home office.

It made me reflect on the pace of business today. I've heard his side of those conversations a thousand times in my travels. In airports, in hotel lobbies, in restaurants, at poolside, on beaches. Everywhere I go, whether I'm traveling for business or for pleasure, the person next to me is forever talking into their phone, trying to cut a deal, to make someone do the things they're supposed to do, to get their work done. No one, it seems, except me, is ever wiling or able to take a break.

It made me think that there shouldn't be any phone calls allowed when you're on vacation. That a vacation where you remain constantly tethered to the office through your phone is no vacation at all.

Then I went back to reading my book.

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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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