No doubt like your firm, we tend to staff for need, with no “cushion” for coverage – so when someone is out, “alternative” arrangements must at least be considered. This week we asked readers who “covered” for them when they were out for as long as a week.
Among this week’s respondents, roughly10%said that a co-worker “filled in,” while roughly5%each said their more pressing duties were attended to by either a boss or a subordinate. Only about 3%said their duties were packed in their suitcase regardless of where they went–but that was mostly because more than39%said that their outage was “covered” by some combination of the six choices we offered (including the availability of an “imaginary friend”). A nearly equal 37%said that their work was waiting for them when they got back. As one reader noted, “â€¦it’s all waiting for me when I get back…every last bit of it.” For many, the sentiments of this reader were prescient: “ You want fries with that burger? This type of job you can leave behind. Unfortunately, many of us have jobs that are more complicated.”
A large number of respondents spoke to the “price” one must pay in order to take that time off. As one noted, “To take time off, I put in lots of extra time before the leave (if it is scheduled) and then extra time when I come back. If the leave is unscheduled, well, the work is still there when you come back! Only emergency items get taken care of by my manager while I am away. It is very stressful to take time off of work.”
Another said, “Funny thing about vacations, you work 70 hours the week before you leave, and another 70 when you get back. I think the extra hours before and after work out to a sum that basically says you really never left.”
“Who gets to stay out for a week?” wondered another. “It would take one week of late nights to get ready for the week off and the following week of late nights to make up for the week off, so technically, that means I never get a vacation!”
Actually, not getting a vacation compared favorably with the experience of the reader who said, ” In the past, when my vacation was coming up I’d be forced to take the week before I left to show a couple of my co-workers how to do certain pieces of my job while I was out. Of course, they never did any of it. So I’d wasted a week of my time, which put me behind a week before I went on vacation. Then while I was gone, my boss would ‘handle’ a few things that she’d decided were important and couldn’t wait. Once I returned, I’d eventually figure out what she had ‘handled’ and spend two weeks fixing what she’d done. So, if I took a week of vacation time, I’d be four weeks behind when I came back … one week wasted on training, one week of vacation time, and two weeks fixing what had been ‘handled’ in my absence. This year I’ve asked if everyone would just leave my stuff alone and I’ll do it when I get back. That way I’ll only be behind the week or two that I took for vacation.”
One reader noted how wonderful her previous year’s vacation–a trip to Europe–had been since technology issues kept her from being in touch. However, she went on to note, “This year’s family vacation is Coloradoâ€¦*sigh*.”
Another said simply, “Vacations are great, but coming back is a nightmare.”
From the sound of it, it’s been a long time since most readers got a full week off, or at least a full week “out” of the office. One “exception” was maternity leaveâ€¦.but even there, the difference between “out” and “off” was clear. One reader shared a tale that was echoed by a number of readers: “A couple of years ago I was out on maternity leave and took a full 14 weeks off (two weeks before the baby was due, and 12 weeks after he was born). They had me train a co-worker to cover for me one week before I was to leave (like that was enough time). What happened to the co-worker I had trained? Well, let’s just say everyone told her, ‘This can wait until Andrea gets back.'”
One reader noted, “We have been downsized to the point that we cannot keep up with our own work without a lot of overtime. Doing someone else’s is out of the question. The only work we did for someone else was a software upgrade for the woman who is recovering from cancer surgery.”
There was “coverage,” and then there was coverage. One reader said their boss filled in, “â€¦but I’d rather it be waiting on me (what does that say?!). We’re a small firm, and I’m really the only one that knows on a day-to-day basis what’s going on with my clients. Good notes and good filing are my best attempt at a solution.”
But there was another side, as this reader shared: “I was out for a week recently, and we all know how much work we can either accomplish or accumulate in a week. While I was out, my boss worked late nights and early mornings, picking up my work so my desk would be clean, and I could slowly get myself back into my routine. Since this is confidential, I can safely say, he definitely is the best boss I have ever had.”
One reader, a self-described “HR ‘department’ of one,” says she deals with vacation with careful scheduling: “â€¦I re-schedule when I will run the payroll , the rest of the insurance, 401k, new hire and termination things just wait (I do have someone to run criminal background checks for the field supervisors while I’m gone!).”
Some found “comfort” in the connectedness. As one noted, “With a laptop with a wireless connection, a Blackberry, and a cell phone, I am just as connected on the road as I am in the office, and probably more productive since I have the benefit of missing out on the ‘important’ office conversations that seem to take up half of our days in the office, such as: who is sleeping with whom, why management are a bunch of monkeys, and which boss said something inappropriate to which employee (again), etc.”
A somewhat different perspective came from the reader who said, “Nobody covers for me– ever. The only time I can turn off my Blackberry is when a flight crew requires me to do so.”
Some of my other “favorite” responses:
“Because there is no one to fill in for me … I’ve never had a week long vacation!! This year, though, I am planning to take off a full five days in May … unless, of course, I have to come inâ€¦.”
“â€¦some combination of the foregoing – some waits for me, some comes with me. and every once in a while when the moon is full and the stars are in alignment, I can bribe someone to do some of it while I’m gone.”
“What’s this thing you call a vacation? I’m not familiar with that term.”
But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Not only is the work I had when I left waiting for me when I get back, but my imaginary friend has added more.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!
I'm going to say other. At my job, in order to "earn" the right to be out of the office, you have to work twice as hard the week before, so as to be a week ahead. The fact that you were out of town on business is no excuse for not having all your work caught up!
Vacations are great, but coming back is a nightmare. No one touches my incoming mail. Our company is so lean that everyone is cross functioning - except for personnel issues.
You want fries with that burger? This type of job you can leave behind. Unfortunately, many of us have jobs that are more complicated. So, my vote is (f). It's hard to work while on vacation but cell phones, blackberry devices and laptops make us easy to find. Some items can be delegated. Some are waiting when we get back including the never ending e-mail.
(f) Some combination of the foregoing. If anything urgent comes up, (b) my boss takes care of it. But, for the most part, (e) the work just piles up until I get back.
G) With a laptop with a wireless connection, a Blackberry, and a cell phone, I am just as connected on the road as I am in the office, and probably more productive since I have the benefit of missing out on the "important" office conversations that seem to take up half of our days in the office, such as: who is sleeping with who, why management are a bunch of monkeys, and which boss said something inappropriate to which employee (again), etc.
I would have to say F although I really liked the imaginary friend choice. Generally no one covers, it all waits for my return or if it has to, it goes with me. I have spent many a vacation morning and late afternoon reading open enrollment documents so they could make it to press on time. Hurray for email? I often find myself considering the value of money spent on a "big" vacation against the length of the after glow. I usually end up deciding the money spent does not have enough ROI given the state of things when I return.
In answer to your survey:
(e) Its all waiting for me when I get back...every last bit of it.
Coverage for me? Well that would be me. To take time off, I put in lots of extra time before the leave (if it is scheduled) and then extra time when I come back. If the leave is unscheduled, well the work is still there when you come back! Only emergency items get taken care of by my manager while I am away. It is very stressful to take time off of work.
....funny you should ask this today. I tore a disk in my back on Sunday and am sitting here this morning dreading the fact that I actually have to go "on the road" to appointments to meet with clients today. The first part of the week I was able to work from home, meaning that I could take my pain pills. But I can't drive and take the pain pills, and the idea of someone else covering my workload is just a fantasy. My only two options are reschedule appointments that took weeks to set up, or suffer through the pain and go myself. Even though I am technically on sick leave this week, I have been taking care of all of my own workload. So I guess the answer is a combination of e) and f). But would you believe -- I truly love my job!
Either (f) or (g) - no one covers for me, it's expected that I stay on top of any crisis situations even while out on vacation. The mundane stuff is (e) still waiting for me when I get back. When our family vacation was in Europe last year, it must have been (d) my imaginary friend. That's one of the great things about international traveling - I had no choice due to technology, so I couldn't be in touch with the office! Ah, how refreshing ... This year's family vacation is Colorado... *sigh*...
My answer to the survey must be a combination of (e) and (g). (E) is obvious. (G) is when something unusual comes up and then the response is for my boss to run around in a tizzy trying to figure what to do, who to call, etc. and then leaving panicked voice mails on my cell phone.
I take issues daily, so to just give issues to somebody while I am going to be gone a week isn't a big deal. It will only take a co-worker to look over what I did in their morning hours for 1 day and then that's it. If it was going to be something that would take more time, I wouldn't have picked up the issue in the first place if I knew my vacation was going to be in a couple of days. I don't want to be that person that hands off the complex issue right before my vacation, so I really look at what I pick up and complete. I always change my out of office and voice mail to reflect my manager's name so if any issues arise, she can take care of. Have a happy Wednesday!
F) Some combination
B) My boss answers any employee questions that are urgent and the rest sits on my desk until I get back.
My boss, but I'd rather it be waiting on me (what does that say?!)
We're a small firm and I'm really the only one that knows on a day-to-day basis what's going on with my clients. Good notes and good filing are my best attempt at a solution.
Who covers for me when I am out for a week? Only a small portion of my job is covered by a co-worker, the rest waits for me to return.
My answer would be f. I am the only person where I work who does what I do, so the majority of the work is waiting for me when I get back. A co-worker does my mail for me and my boss fields some of the questions that =she actually knows how to answer. More mundane queries are handled by my imaginary friend Pepe'. This arrangement has worked pretty well more or less for the past couple of years. However, I will be making a drastic change in how I handle these matters going forward.
(f) Pressing issues, depending on the client and the complexity are handled by coworkers, boss or subordinate; things that can wait typically welcome me back to work
f) And I would like to hear more about d)...maybe I just don't have enough "imagination". It's more of c) and e) in this job. Fortunately, I have some subordinates who are capable of keeping things going while I am out.
But a lot of stuff just piles up. Actually, I've only taken one week long vacation at this job, so I really don't know what might happen. I was wondering what you meant by "good old-fashioned vacation time". I wasn't aware that vacation was out of fashion? But looking back at my last several years, I see what you mean.
Always a co-worker. It's arranged ahead of time and always works out very nicely.
A couple of years ago I was out on Maternity leave and took a full 14 weeks off (2 weeks before the baby was due, and 12 weeks after he was born). They had me train a co-worker to cover for me 1 week before I was to leave (like that was enough time). You know you can always count on your imaginary friends to keep the work on your desk nice and neat as the pile grows!
What happened to the co-worker I had trained? Well, let's just say everyone told her "This can wait until Andrea gets back."
Gotta love it!
My answer is (f), which = (a) but mostly (e). The three of us who do the same job (plan administration) will leave a back-up name on our outgoing voicemail message while we're out, but mostly all of our work is waiting for us when we get back. Our Distributions Coordinator, on the other hand, enjoys nearly a full (a), because we can't let participant distributions go undone for more than half a day or so. One of us (the junior administrator) has to pick up the slack and do the distributions. The other day, the Distributions Coordinator, who is about to leave for a two-week cruise, asked another administrator and me if we could copy and bind our own year-end packages while she's gone so they're not all piled up when she gets back. I blurted out "no one does our jobs when we're not here!" (I can't help it, I'm a Sagittarius), and not another word was said; however, I expect to spend a part of the next two weeks copying and binding.
For relatively normal items, coverage would be by a subordinate. The rest is waiting for me when I come back. Funny thing about vacations, you work 70 hours the week before you leave, and another 70 when you get back. I think the extra hours before and after work out to a sum that basically says you really never left.
I would have to say "f", a combination of "a" a co-worker doing some things but mostly "e" still waiting for me when I get back.
Of course that's assuming I can take a vacation. Normally I work twice as hard before and after a vacation as I would have worked if I didn't take a vacation.
My answer is (f) some combination of the foregoing. My boss handles the approval of 401(k) loans and withdrawals but that's it. That's why I plan my vacation around major deadlines such as 5500's etc. God forbid something should happen to me....
Because there is no one to fill in for me ... I've never had a week long vacation!! This year, though, I am planning to take off a full 5 days in May ... unless, of course, I have to come in...
Who gets to stay out for a week? It would take one week of late nights to get ready for the week off and the following week of late nights to make up for the week off, so technically, that means I never get a vacation! So I guess my answer is f. It piles up & I take it with me (even if it is not physically but mentally).
Sounds like a need a vacation!Â—
Definitely e) although I am expected to check my voice mails while I am away and deal with any urgent matters.
On my return the novelty of time away soon wears off as I trudge through the e-mails, clear a space on my desk and spend extra hours catching up. After that is done you feel like you need another break.
I was out on maternity leave for three months and I trained a co-worker to do the basics of my job. But nonetheless, I was still called at home; I checked email consistently and even worked a bit from home during that time. Same goes for my vacation; I guess you can say they are "get-aways". I am "away" from the office but still keeping an eye on my work, so technically it's not a "vacation."
I honestly can't remember the last time I was out for a week at a time!
It's a shame that your punishment for what is hopefully a week of fun is an entire day or two returning e-mails and voice mails not to mention the real work that's still waiting for you when you return. If I were to go away for a week, my assistant would field calls on my behalf but for the most part my answer would be (e) still waiting for me.
Have a great day!
A and E, but not necessarily in that order. This week is "Spring Break" in our college town, so we are a skeleton crew as brokers like to take vacation with their families while their kids are on break. I am glad they are able to take the time with their family; I just wish they didn't all go at once. It's aggravating, but after weeks like this we always say we won't let ourselves be this thinly staffed, but because some people feel no need to check with superiors, and with superiors feeling no need to coordinate vacations, it inevitably happens again. So we peons who run the joint have the pleasure of an increased workload and stress in the middle of IRA contribution and cost basis season.
All but (b). My co-workers are so excited when I actually take a few days off! They pitch in to cover what they can while I'm gone. Still some work goes in the suitcase and a lot is on the desk when I get back. My boss is a boss in name only because people who like organization charts thought I should have one.
I would have to say both:
(e) Still waiting for you when you get back
(f) Packed in your suitcase, no matter where you go
Anything we don't take with us and do "on vacation" will be waiting for us when we get back.
We have been downsized to the point that we cannot keep up with our own work without a lot of overtime. Doing someone else's is out of the question. The only work we did for someone else was a software upgrade for the woman who is recovering from cancer surgery.
A: D, my imaginary friend named Mr. Wong. Unfortunately Mr. Wong is bit of a slacker and the workload just doesn't seem to get done with I'm out.
However, whenever anything goes wrong, Mr. Wong is usually to blame.
When I'm gone for a week or more, a colleague is assigned to my work.
This is a very timely question considering this is my first "official" day back at work after a 7 workday leave....I think people around here are pretty much in denial when someone is on vacation or traveling. Although we try to cover for each other when someone is out, I get voicemail messages and Emails even though both my phone and Email have out of office messages on them. Most of the calls I get completely ignore the fact that I'm not checking voicemail (that's what I tell them anyway!) and tell me "it's urgent you get back with me today". The general feeling about "vacation" time is that if you're truly vacationing, you darn well better be out of the country....preferably a 3rd world country in an area so remote that you have no phone/internet service. If you're selfishly taking vacation time at home where you still legitimately have access to your Email and voicemail, there is obviously no reason why you can't keep up yourself!
I am a benefits administrator (do retirements, insurance, savings plans, etc) for approx 1000 employees (2 plans - 1 for salaried and 1 for hourly union). I have had this position alone since 1996 when my co-worker retired. She continued to do vacation relief for me (if I was out over 3 days) until 2004.
At that time it was decided (not by me) that our part-time college student could learn my job and relieve for me.
However this student (age 19) has other duties that keep her very busy when I am here.
Thank goodness she is very organized and very conscious of her duties - however she is not always available for relief so when I return I usually work overtime to catch up. Therefore, when I am off, I check my voice mail and e-mail several times a day. I very seldom take a week's vacation at the time.
My answer would be either Co-worker or Other, We use a team approach, and so five others know my customers and can help them when I'm away. They split the work up as it comes in. Of course that means I have to cover for five others when they're away.
For me, the answer is (f), some combination of the above. (Primarily (a), (b) and mostly (e)!) However, I like (d), an imaginary friend. Maybe I can try that one on my next vacation. Someone like Fred Flintstone's "Gazoo"! If this work's out, I might even try it at home.
P.S. My co-workers and I enjoy NewsDash. It has a good mix of informational articles and items such as "Monday Musings" and the "Friday Files" to keep us going. (As I'm sure you know, this regulatory stuff is not always the most "riveting" information!)
Who covers for me when I'm out... hmmm let's see... That would be (a) (b) and (e) or in other words (f). In the past when my vacation was coming up I'd be forced to take the week before I go to show a couple of my co-workers how to do certain pieces of my job while I'm out. Of course, they never did any of it. So I'd wasted a week of my time, which put me behind a week before I went on vacation. Then while I was gone, my boss would "handle" a few things that she'd decided were important and couldn't wait. Once I returned I'd eventually figure out what she had "handled" and spend two weeks fixing what she'd done. So, if I took a week of vacation time, I'd be 4 weeks behind when I came back ... 1 week wasted on training, 1 week of vacation time and 2 weeks fixing what had been "handled" in my absence.
This year I've asked if everyone would just leave my stuff alone and I'll do it when I get back. That way I'll only be behind the week or two that I took for vacation.
In this day and age are we ever really "away". Unfortunately, I'm just an e-mail or voice mail away. Sad part is, I feel guilty if I don't check in regularly as well. I need a life!
I was out for a week recently, and we all know how much work we can either accomplish or accumulate in a week. While I was out, my boss worked late nights and early mornings, picking up my work so my desk would be clean, and I could slowly get myself back into my routine. Since this is confidential, I can safely say, he definitely is the best boss I have ever had.
I am always available by cell phone for the most urgent matters, but most work is (e) still waiting for me when I get back
The second f, can't wait to see how you tally the results of this question
Have a great day!
E/f It waits if I don't use by blackberry to respond.Â—
I'll go with a combo answer. Some of my work is waiting for me when I get back, but the hottest stuff I deal with while I'm on vacation, by logging to work, checking and responding to critical e-mails and working on high-priority projects. I manage a team of six and a rarely find anyone to back me up. My manager says I don't delegate well enough, but I think he's forgotten what it likes to manage a team and do client work. I find that my team can get along without me for a week, but my clients and my internal "special projects" partners can't. And that's why I spend some of my vacation time working!
Last Fall I had a 4 week sabbatical. Coverage was provided by my manager (the corporate Treasurer) and a subordinate, and colleague in Treasury department pitched in. However, some things were just left undone and I had much to do when I returned.
f. I wear many different hats, so it just depends on what will be going on when I'm gone. Co-workers cover some, subordinates cover some and there is always some waiting for me when I get back!
(F) A combination of C, E and B, in that order. The subordinate is actually our Service Center that does a great job in handling problems, if any. My voice mail directs my clients when I'm gone to call the Service Center first. When the client hears the message, they either know to contact the Service Center or wait until I return. If the matter needs to be escalated, the Service Center notifies my office to provide appropriate resolution from a peer or my boss. I have had enjoyable and restorative vacation time as a result.
The work is still waiting for me when I return.
For me it's an (e) most of the time. (c) When something is critical with a deadline but I do my best not to take time off when those things come up.
In the past I've been really abused with the first (f) of taking it with you. I find that well wishes, good thoughts, bonuses and promotions don't come with the working around the clock method, you usually get dumped on and kept right where you're at so you can keep it up.
I haven't taken a week yet. If I were out that long, work would be (E), waiting patiently for my return, like a puppy.
That said, I'd love to have (G) -- an imaginary assistant -- cover instead.
f - Combination
My assistant screens the email, gets rid of the junk, posts meetings, and does easy stuff, and then the rest sits.
I do like the idea, however, of an imaginary friend, but feel they wouldn't remain a friend after even one week, so how about an imaginary clone.
What's this thing you call a vacation? I'm not familiar with that term.
Most of the time it's a combination of (a) a co-worker and (e) still waiting when I get back. Interestingly though, the smaller the task the more likely it will be covered by a co-worker. The meatier the issue, the more likely it patiently awaits my return. And then there's (f... the first f) for the "on fire" category which turns my beloved cell phone into one of my most detested possessions. So, my overall answer is (f)...uh, the second f.
No one is cross trained in this department, so it's a crisis when someone decides to take a vacation. There are also 5 days out of every month that we are not even allowed to be gone, or you could be fired. Good managers, huh?
People actually take a week off?
A) My coworker and I share responsibilities for the same job so only one of us can be out at the same time. If it is to be an extended period, as much front end work is completed as possible.
Survey Says: (b) my boss. Since there's only two of us in the office, he gets the honors when I'm out. He says ours is a very "efficient" office. That's one way to put it.
You have two 'f' options below, so I've designated them F1 and F2
Who covers for you when you're out for an extended period (say a week)? Is it
(a) A co-worker,
(b) Your boss,
(c) A subordinate,
(d) An imaginary friend,
(e) Still waiting for you when you get back,
(f1) packed in your suitcase, no matter where you go,
(f2) some combination of the foregoing, or
I have to say f (2) - some combination of the foregoing. If the client has general questions, (b) my boss, who is only good enough to answer general questions. If they have specific, participant related questions, (a) a co-worker and (c) a subordinate. If they have a plan design questions, (e) still waiting for me when I get back. If they are urgent legal questions, then f(1) packed in my suitcase - I have a special ring on my cell phone for my client so I know if I want to answer it or not. If I could figure out how to get (d) my imaginary friend to answer more questions, I would, because less would be waiting for me when I get back, but she doesn't know how to type and send e-mail.
The only vacation that f (1) did not apply was when I went to Costa Rica because I didn't have any cell phone service. I had 4 voicemails when I returned.
A & E & G.
I USED TO CALL EVERY DAY. AS YEARS WENT BY....EVERY OTHER DAY. THEN THEY INVENTED CELL PHONES. I DON'T REALLY MIND. A QUESTION AND A 30 SECOND ANSWER, SAVE MY INNOCENT CO-WORKER HOURS OF DIGGING.
My boss covers for me, but only the bare minimum gets done. She has a lot on her own plate. Therefore, I have a mad scramble for a few days after returning before things are back to "normal."
I have five bosses, four of them will leave all their work on my desk to be done when I return. One of them is kind enough to give me all the work I could possibly do the week that I'm gone to be done the week before I leave. This is why vacations are over-rated.
I'm the only one in my position and therefore I have to be available 24/7 -- I received a phone call at my hospital bed just hours after I delivered my first child. But I prefer to be in contact by phone and computer rather than have everything pile up on my desk waiting for when I get back. But with the kind of year we've had, there hasn't been much opportunity for vacation. Here's looking forward to strong financial markets, experience that meets or beats assumptions, and contributions that are paid on time!
Nobody covers for me -- ever. The only time I can turn off my Blackberry is when a flight crew requires me to do so.
Depending on the situation...all of the above.Â—
I would lean towards the latter "F": "Some combination of the above", excluding the prior "F": "packed in the suitcase" (however, I clandestinely check work email and voicemail).
Not only is the work I had when I left waiting for me when I get back, but my imaginary friend has added more.
I would choose the second (f) - several people do small pieces of it (the parts they feel like doing, usually that means the easy stuff) and a lot of it just sits there until I get back. Of course, we're permanently short-handed now, since we didn't replace the person who quit in December, so it should be even more fun this year 🙂 Luckily I don't usually have a lot of urgent deadlines, but I usually end up feeling like I didn't have a vacation by the end of the week when I get back.
I learned a long time ago, despite clients' (and our own sense) of self-importance, that there's never really an "emergency" in the retirement business.
If it's serious they'll get to someone who will deal with it.
In the alternative they can leave a voice message or e-mail.
If I'm on vacation, nobody's getting hold of me.
This makes the first "couple, two, three" days back interesting and energizing.
(e)- Unfortunately...And this is not new - it was the same at my prior firm, which was a completely different size and environment. It seems to be a mandate in my field that we all operate on a shoe string at all times.
Some combination of the foregoing: My assistant does quite a bit, my imaginary friend makes it look like I'm here, I handle things from wherever I am if need be, my boss assumes I'm always here working (which I usually am), and the majority of my work is waiting for me when I get back.
The longest vacation I ever took was ten days, and I had to schedule that vacation around payroll since I'm the only one who can do it. Fortunately, my assistant handled most everything and there were no payroll, benefits, insurance or 401k issues that came up while I was gone. This is what we call a "Miracle".
With today's electronic connectivity, it's increasingly hard to be truly "out of the office". Cell phones connect me to conference calls, Blackberry emails keep coming, not to mention the faxes that show up at the hotel for review. One coworker booked a cruise on an old ship, one without internet connections, so he could get some down time. Appealing as the imaginary friend is, it's usually all mine, and waiting for me at the end of the day.
It's nice to see you're human, and make a mistake every once in a while. .
. With their being two "f" choices in today's survey, I wondered how to refer to them ... I guess my response would be "2nd 'f'", and the combination would be "e" and "first 'f'". The work comes with me when timing won't wait (almost every vacation), but then there is always much more waiting for me when I get back. Guess we should look at it as job security . . .
Just a note, I really do enjoy your News Dash, and will never delete it without reading it, even if I can't get to it until weeks later!
Good question really not sure since I have not taken any time off since I have worked here!!! I think I could safely say (e) waiting for me with the exception of any major crisis that would be directed to my boss.
I would have to say G other. I've had two government sponsored vacations, one to Bosnia for ten months(2001), and one to Iraq for 17 months (2003-2004). In each case they had to hire replacements. In each case when I returned there was a spot for me, not the same one when I left, but a similar job.
On the shorter, self sponsored vacations (1 week or so) it would be A.
I would have to say 95% of the work is (e) still waiting when I return.
The other 5% "urgent" matters are usually handled by (a) co-worker, but my
2 co-workers are both now on extended medical leave, so (b) my boss does what he can. Oh for the days of having enough people to handle the work!
Good question - make me feel guilty about taking a vacation! I have no subordinates... so I have to cross out C. Usually, it ends up being (a) a coworker or (b) my "boss" (I have four different people I report to at various levels - I am like that guy from Office Space!!!). I like the D idea... my imaginary friend. Now if he could only take calls and respond to the rabid e-mails I get from certain customers. So I guess the real answer is F.
My imaginary friend is slow on the uptake so work is mostly waiting for me when I get back. Therefore, I rarely leave for more than 1 day at a time.
However, I am given the opportunity to help out by phone & email for those emergencies and not so urgent problems I deal with while I'm out. As I already do the work of 2, my cubicle is almost an office with walls of stacked files. I keep repeating to myself "job security, job security..."
E - No one's doing my work when I'm away. Taking a week off (or even just being away for a few days for business reasons) means I must work twice as hard for about a week preceding the trip, and again upon returning.
It's hardly worth it to leave.
Q: Who covers for you when you're out for an extended period (say a week)?
A: (e) no one ... the work is still waiting for me when I get back.
Can't wait to read the results.
Your poll today struck a chord with me. When I go on vacation, I usually ask a subordinate to cover for me, but the work is ALWAYS waiting for me when I return. Somehow, the assignments seem to multiply when I'm away....Perhaps if I change tactics to my have my imaginary friend cover for me, there will be less catch-up work when I return......
A week off? Won't happen... so 'e' is the answer.... after just one
day, I normally come back to 60+ e-mail's, my voice mailbox is full, and so is my regular mail box.... All the enjoyment from the day off is lost in the chaos and stress of having to do 2 days work in one....
Hi, Nevin. I am an HR "department" of one so it is "e", definitely "e". I re-schedule when I will run the payroll, the rest of the insurance, 401k, new hire and termination things just wait (I do have someone to run criminal background checks for the field supervisors while I'm gone!). Anyone e mailing or calling gets a message stating when I'll be back and to "press zero to return to the main menu" as we are one of those places that has no live person to answer the phone lines. It is an inconvenience both before and after taking a vacation but I do take them - and it is worth the price. (Especially this year I will take a lot of the days I have - my daughter is getting married - the time I've spent with her planning, etc. has been fun and precious to me, as the ad says "PRICELESS"). Hope you have a nice holiday weekend (assuming you get a day off for Easter!)
(f) Some combination - depending on the topic, other people can cover some items. For example, I can defer WC reporting to one person, benefit questions to a backup in the corporate office, etc. However, for most other things, as long as I can get cell phone service, I am on call the whole time. The lesson I should learn is to plan vacations for spots with no cell phone service!
B is in the mix because some of my work would shift to my nominal boss. By the way, what is a week off?
I would have to say (g). The last time I could take an extended vacation was in July 2003. I was still without a boss, and technically had no subordinates (I just directed the activities of the department, but I wasn't officially "the manager"). At 9pm the night before I left (my flight was at 8 the next morning) I was frantically trying to send out email instructions to various individuals before the server went down. While I was able to cover the "big" stuff, a co-worker called me during my vacation to inform me that the "acting" boss (and the term is not used loosely here) made a comment about my absence record (I had previously been out because of two family funerals). I will again be out this July for two weeks, and I still have to have more than one person cover for me. But while I am solidifying my position with the company, the former acting manager is acting out his supervisory skills on himself; he was let go last year.
Love your column, Nevin. Can you plan to be out when I'm out in July? It's just not a good day without it!
I have one task that is critical - it has to be done each day the market is open, that task is usually done by my boss in my absence. If she is out, it is done by a co-worker. All of my other work waits for me to return. I have never taken more than a week off at a time in the past four and 1/2 years.
f) some combination of the foregoing - some waits for me, some comes with me and every once in a while when the moon is full and the stars are in alignment, I can bribe someone to so do some of it while I'm gone
Who covers for me? Mostly me. When I'm away for more than a few days I use an outside media consultant for press issues. And, I'm late responding to you because I was out at a meeting all day and just now getting to the Dash!
What's a vacation? When I am out it's (c) my subordinate.
(e) There are two choices. Either I do the work when I return or it just doesn't get done.
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