Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
There’s so much kvetching about Americans not taking enough vacation.
Such kvetching has enormous merits.
It omits, however, one simple fact. We’re Americans. We can’t be Americans if we’re lying around doing nothing. Not until the NFL season has started anyway.
Vacations are ultimately harmful. You know this to be true. You’ve not even been able to admit it to your shrink.
So I am here to help you articulate all the reasons why your summer vacation is hurting you, your business and your existence in this world.
1. You Didn’t Choose The Destination, Did You?
You work so hard that you delegate vacation decisions. Your lover wants you to be involved. You plead business. You think you’re being clever. Before you know it, you’re off to the Carpathian mountains to spend two weeks at a yoga retreat where everyone salutes the sun (if there is any) in scuba diving gear. Oh, and you’re going with your lover’s best friend and his lover. Whom you really don’t like at all. Your lover doesn’t know? Oh, dear.
2. You Get Dreadful Stomach Upsets On Foreign Soil, Don’t You?
Americans aren’t always the best travelers. We’re an extension of our nation’s foreign policy strategy: We want everywhere else to be like America. So when we end up in the Andes we suddenly find the need for extra undies. When we go to Mexico, we can’t understand why the tacos don’t taste like Taco Bell. Vacations engender stomach aches, sunstroke, odd beings that sting you in odd places, inexplicable rashes and, of course, your concomitant and constant lack of mental equilibrium.
3. Your Phone Stops Working. So Does Your Laptop.
You told your lover you were going to have to do a little work. Just a little. Then the wi-fi at the Oymyakon Palace Hotel has all the speed of the whiskey-making process. You also find your phone won’t pick up a signal, your iPad is suddenly and inexplicably on the brink and the nearest Apple store to Oymyakon is thousands of miles away. You lose your temper. Your lover leaves you for a professional curler.
4. Your Children. Oh, You Had To Go With Your Children.
You love your children. You really do. But you’re trying to relax. You’re desperate to relax. And for them, vacation is an opportunity to get even more excited than if they’d just guzzled 10 Coca-Colas followed by a chocolate bombe chaser. They want to run around. You want to lie down for twelve hours at a time. They want to go here, there and everywhere. You want to go where they can’t find you. Then they stop liking you. Which kills you.
5. No One Can Understand What You’re Saying.
You were once a disciple of the notion that when you’re abroad, you don’t have to learn another language. You just have to speak a little louder in English. Then you went abroad and realized that you’re even less understood than you are at home. Vacations increase your sense that no one will ever understand, that you’re on an island from which the ferry only leaves once a year. It’s this very isolation that made you want to become an entrepreneur. And then you go on vacation and end up feeling so alone and ridiculous because you don’t know the Korean for pickled gherkin.
6. The Weather Stinks. It Stinks. It Truly Stinks.
You leave with the notion that wherever you’re going there will be beach, sunshine and glorious cocktails as the sun begins to set. You get there and it’s pouring with rain. This can be a typical occurrence in certain parts of northern Europe. Conversely, you might end up in the southern Mediterranean and it’s more scalding than a criticism from Donald Trump. You work in order to make business predictable and controllable. You go on vacation and you lose control. It’s awful for the blood pressure.
7. You Keep Seeing Business Opportunities, Dammit.
You arrive in Ankara, Angkor Wat or Andorra and you want to tell them how to run things. Their transportation system is all askew. Their fast food is too slow. Their customer service seems to ignore the service part. You’re an entrepreneur. You can’t help seeing business opportunities. Meanwhile, your lover and your family just want to see historical monuments and play crazy golf. And all you can think about is that the crazy golf is underpriced and the historical monument should have better apps for iPad users.
8. You Call The Office Every Day. Secretly.
It isn’t just the fact that you can’t stop thinking about work. It’s the fact that you’re having to use subterfuge to feed your work obsession. You say you’re just going to go for a walk. You volunteer to go buy some more milk/water/baguettes. On the way, you pull out your phone and demand to know everything that’s going on at work. Even worse, you end up calling work from the restroom. And then you can’t get hold of the person you need. This is pain, radical pain. Your life is in the toilet.
9. Everyone Asks If You Had A Great Time.
You come back. You’re stressed to the gills. Your gills are full of strange types of alcohol that had entirely unfamiliar names. They can’t take the stress. And then everyone wants to know just how marvelous a time you had. Some of them actually hope you did have a marvelous time. Some of them are envious that you went away. Others, though, are rubbing it in. They’ve heard you kept calling in every day. They’re the ones who machinated against you while you were away. They’re trying to kick you while you’re down.