I’ve been dreading this before I even went on vacation. I thought about it on the car ride down to the beach, on the ferry across to my friend’s destination wedding, during the actual wedding and especially on the ride home on Sunday from vacation. I thought, “Maybe if I took off Monday off, it will mitigate some post vacation scaries.” All those emails, calls, meetings and TPS reports I put off for a week will come in gently Tuesday rather than hitting me all at once on Monday.
Maybe it’s the residual sand in my shoes, wedding pictures being put up on the hour or my golf tan, but I’m having a severe case of Vacation Hangover.
The Monday I took off to get re-acclimated? Didn’t help one bit. I write this to you over a conference call, with a hangover-like headache from my vacation sleep schedule that didn’t quite line up with real life. Everything seems to be amplified. The temp that was in my cubicle land has been on personal calls all day. The AC is loud, and I keep having to ask people to repeat themselves. People keep coming in to ask me about the lavish beach house I stayed in with the rest of the wedding party, but all I want to do is go back to my dumpy hotel in Myrtle Beach and pocket the $1,000 I spent to be a groomsman.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I could just get going. Nothing I do seems to go well, and everything is a distraction. After clicking all my emails so there is no longer a “You’ve got mail” envelope on Outlook, I slowly re-scan and delete the garbage emails that could have easily been avoided by a walk down the hallway followed by a one-sentence question or comment.
My buddy Crash wrote about it, even so far as to contact me to let me know how jealous he was of the sweet landscapes I drunkenly took on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love my paid time off, but really it’s basically borrowed time. I am actually afraid to use my PTO because I know all that time off will come back to bite me in the ass when I get back.
The point of a vacation is to come back refreshed, happy and ready to get back on the grind. Really, I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation, similar to like when you went to Disney World as a kid. Now, all the things I neglected or that happened when I was gone have been back loaded, and it’s now time to pay the piper.
Trying to get back into the swing of things is tough. I spent months cultivating my routine. Today, I went to get some coffee and realized I forgot my coffee mug. I took all of my stuff home to be dish-washed before going on vacation so my coworkers didn’t judge me more than they already do for not being engaged or married. I ate cold pizza for lunch because I was too lazy to go to the store last night and instead ordered large pie and hot cheese balls from my favorite place.
I feel like I’m in school again, looking at the clock every five minutes, counting down the minutes to freedom. My head pounding, I listen to people from around the state talk about evaluations, events, social media, agenda and all those other office buzzwords but it all sounds like noise the teacher makes in Charlie Brown.
The bad news just keeps coming. I was volun-told that I’ll be traveling around the state quite a bit before the end of the year. One of the days will be during a big home game, and I love football. My boss threw me under the bus so that we are “represented” at the event. There are only six weekends a year to enjoy home games, and the prospect of spending one of my beloved days dealing with screaming high school students with raging hormones is a fate worse than death.
To be honest, I’m just not really ready to be back to work. There should be some kind of a reintegration process after any vacation over three days to avoid the overwhelming mixture of stress, guilt and sadness that hits as you walk in the office and realize you’ll be making up that week you took off during lunch or in the evenings the following week.
I already felt bad enough taking 6 work days off because everyone is already stretched so thin. Having any sort of good time is tough because work is always in the back of my mind. All work and no play makes Bernie a dull boy..
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