I had a conversation with a client recently and we were talking about holidays and vacations. We talked about what the company granted in terms of holidays, sick days and vacation days (btw, did you know that companies are not required to give 2 weeks of vacation? They give it to compete in the work marketplace.)
She asked about what I, as a consultant, take. I was about to say I take “a lot” of vacation when, after doing some mental math realized that, by most people’s use of the language, I had negative vacation this year. I was thinking vacation meant contentment and fulfillment, not the usual definition of hours spent working. It seems when I have squeezed out unproductive hours from work somewhere, I immediately apply those hours back to work somewhere else. For a moment, I felt a self-imposed, obligatory fatigue setting in.
But why should it be so? If you enjoy what you do, it is not work in some sense of the word. Smart hard work is generally rewarded and work can be a prime area of life where you can make a difference, have varied experiences and generally feel useful. So, similar to my last post, I’m suggesting today, when many people are taking a break from work, to head into 2011 mindfully about work, however you do your consulting, and the value that it brings.