Vacation day? What’s that?

Interesting article by Dan Pink about the Netflix policy of not having a set number of vacation days for employees. They instituted the policy for a couple of reasons: one is to treat grown-ups like grown-ups; another is a nod to the reality that many employees were putting in extra time responding to emails, texts and phone calls at all hours, or working from home on the weekends. The catch is that the employee needs to be sure their work is “covered” during their vacation time. My recollection of corporate life is that I would work extra hours in the weeks before and after a vacation to make sure that everything was covered while I was gone…really not much different then it is now, when I have no “paid” vacation time. It also sounds to me like it puts pressure on the employee to make sure their work is done in their absence…and what if they can’t guarantee that? “Sorry I had to miss your wedding, but my coworkers refused to do my job in my absence”.

One of the benefits of being a solopreneur is not having to ask permission to take time off. I make sure my clients know ahead of time if I’m leaving town; on most vacations, I check email and bring my computer with me just in case there’s a client emergency. To people for whom vacation time is sacrosanct, that probably sounds like an unreasonable breach of the work/life border. I view it as part of the package: I can take off hiking in the middle of the week if I want, but I also take my computer on vacations.

And one of these years I’m going to take off and go hiking in the middle of the week.