An employee at a small company seems a little squeamish about taking the week off. Well, who doesn't feel that way in these uncertain times? And yet, vacation days must be taken. When we take them, we must show courage, and resist the temptation to simper.
In an e-mail titled "Michael This Week " (name changed to protect the guilt-ridden), Michael announces:
Taking some time off, the week before the week before our [Big Corporate Event] — sticking around town, doing some odds and ends that need taking care of, (also my dad has another chemo treatment this week and a few follow appts) — but I also hopefully be catching up on some books and movies I have piling up. My plan is to be check in first thing in the morning and then again at the end of the day for e-mails, but I will have my cell with me most of the time should anything come up — 555-555-5555. Nancy has been gracious enough to cover and answer anything urgent etc., that comes up in regards to [Project A] or [Project B], [Project C] etc., and those and any other questions or decisions needing immediate action should go Nancy's way, (but please cc me too if you would).
You'll likely be hearing from me at some point, and again, if there is anything that you need me for, please let me know. Many thanks, -M
Oh for the love of Pete!
On behalf of the the recipients of this e-mail (and the recipients of all e-mails from people who can't figure out if the Fates will afford them a few days off but are taking them anyway), I reply:
First off, Michael, we are not your gay lovers, so don't call us your "companions." If you call us by the right term (this would be "colleagues"), you're probably more likely to speak to us in a way that comes off as sane.
Secondly: Spare us the prose pie chart on percentages of time you'll be engaging in morally heroic activities vs. honorable practical pursuits vs. sensibly restful exercises in self-improvement.
Finally: By forcing us to master your vacation-time e-mail schedule, Michael, you are draining the office not only of your productivity, but ours too.
Most of the above could have been said this way: I'll be checking e-mail every day, and if something comes up that Nancy can't handle, it's OK to call my cell. And the rest? It shouldn't have been said at all.
Larry Ragan had a stock expression of farewell to attendees of business conferences. And Michael, I'd like to send you on your Sort-Of-But-Not-Exactly Staycation with these simple words:
"Go with God. But go."