Sadly, some in NJ have no idea what a day off truly is (Opinion)
Ah yes, taking time off. Whether it's for vacation, the holidays, or just a day for yourself, having some personal time away from work is so important for your health.
Taking time off isn't the same for everyone, however. How and when one takes some personal days is completely up to them and their lifestyle.
And the reasons we take off can also vary. Sometimes we need to take care of business such as doctors' appointments. Other times it might be to simply have a day for ourselves.
Or maybe it's the holidays and we decide to take a week off to be with friends and family. Vacation time, of course, is also a biggie.
You get the idea. Regardless of the reason, taking time off is paramount to our health. Being able to disconnect is so important and it's vital for your well-being to do so.
So why bring this up? Well, it has to do with something I noticed during the holidays within my own company.
As mentioned above, many people like to take off during the holidays, which is exactly what some of my coworkers did between Christmas and New Year's.
With so many away messages set for email, it's expected that they're enjoying their time off. Sometimes you have to still send an email to them, however, even if indirectly through a group distribution address.
But it's a common practice for many businesses to email an employee on their day off. Not to encourage them to work, but to ensure they know what's going on when they return.
With that said, it's very unfortunate so many of my co-workers participated in this one activity during their time off. And what exactly is that activity?
It's signing on and working anyway. Yep, almost every one of them did that and I'm sorry they did.
But I can't completely blame them since I used to be the same way. On days off, I would still check my emails and respond to calls even though I should've been enjoying my own time.
Personal time off is just that, paid time for you without the work. So why do so many of us still work anyway despite technically being off?
I can't speak for everyone, but for me, I think it had to do with the fear of everything crashing and burning. In my mind, if I didn't respond or handle something, then all hell was going to break loose.
I also think at the time that I thought it would make me look good to be responding to handle situations while not being present. Certainly, that would work in my favor, right?
But it wasn't just that. I also had bosses in the past that would call or text me personally on days off asking me about work.
In fact, that even happened when my twin sons were being born. Knowing where I was and what was happening, my boss, along with a colleague were blowing up my phone via texts to ask a very stupid question. That, all while my kids were literally being born at that very moment.
Sure, I'll step away from this life-changing event to let you know where the cable is for that speaker. That one really annoyed me, and I had to literally remind them where I was yet again.
So I do understand why some still work while taking some personal time off. Sometimes it's to try and make yourself look good to your boss. And sometimes it's the expectation the workplace sets that you must be available no matter what.
But shortly after my kids were born did I finally start forcing myself to change. I ended up going on vacation, and for the first time, refused to check emails or put on any work alerts whatsoever on my phone.
And you know what? It was the best thing I could've ever done, and I've never gone back. I could care less what's happening when I'm off. My time is my time, and I don't want to stress or get agitated over something happening at work when I shouldn't be.
Technology, of course, makes it that much more difficult. Often times our work apps constantly chime in with alerts and tempt us to sign on, and we do it.
My advice on that? Don't sign in, and turn those alerts off. You're not supposed to be working, so don't stress about working on your personal time.
I want my co-workers to also follow this advice. I shouldn't be getting responses from them or seeing them put orders in while off for the week. But alas, almost all of them who were off during the holidays were doing this.
We, as a whole, really need to get better with how we define personal time off. We deserve a personal life that shouldn't revolve around work.
I know it can be hard to disconnect, I've been there. But I'm telling you, you'll be so much happier and more relaxed when you're finally able to let go.
Yes, life in New Jersey can be stressful. Often, we fear we won't be able to make ends meet with how expensive living in this state is.
But we get time off for a reason, and we should use it to the fullest. So please, the next time you're using your own time, just disconnect from the workplace and enjoy yourself.