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The Monday after Vacation:
Look at you. You slaved away for months at your entry-level job, and you finally got some paid vacation days. After setting your Outlook out of office message and leaving a note on the whiteboard outside your desk, you dash to your car and speed out of the parking lot. You’re ready to celebrate, do some stupid shit, and remind everyone how you’re getting paid while doing that stupid shit. Unfortunately this column isn’t about that day; it’s about the day you get back…
Monday 6 AM
Holy shit, how is it already 6 am? Why did I decide to drink on the plane ride back? Will anyone believe that I got food poisoning on the last night of my vacation? The questions begin to swirl in your head as you struggle to shower, get dressed, and drive to work without thinking about how awful today will be. While most of your colleagues take their vacations to relax or spend time with their families, you thought PTO stood for “Party your Taint Off” and spent it with all your friends from college. The only vomit a typical 40-year-old office worker had to see on vacation was the time when their six-year-old kid couldn’t handle Skull Mountain at Six Flags. On the other hand you saw it multiple times when your buddy tried to take a six second pull from a handle of Skol Vodka. Whether it was reliving spring break, your annual pledge class camping trip, or a four-day Vegas bender, your memory probably wasn’t filled with much other than booze, bad decisions, and blackmail for your best friend’s wedding reception next summer.
“Hey how was your vacation?” – Every coworker you encounter today.
There is no good way to answer this question. The story of you telling the cop that your buddy pissing in public is protected by the first amendment because he’s spelling words with his urine isn’t exactly HR friendly. On the other hand, saying “pretty good” lets them create wild NSFW ideas in their head (which probably aren’t that far from the truth). As the question “I wonder if I still smell like booze?” crosses your mind, you realize that the best course of action is to talk about how nice it was to see everyone and conveniently leave out any details of what you actually saw your friends do.
What the? How did I get 500 emails in 3 days?
While you were out, everyone decided to put their feet on the gas and actually get stuff done. That service request you submitted three months ago finally got done along with 10 others that were submitted in the past two days. Apparently the snail of a business you worked for had a cheetah taped to its back the minute you left. Oh yeah, you’re going to want to read all 500 of those emails in the next 15 minutes to get ready for your Monday morning meeting.
Of course you got called out in the meeting to explain a few figures. At the very least, standing in front of the conference room got you away from sitting next to Sheila. From the look she gave you when you sat down, she can definitely smell the sin still wafting off your body. Thankfully, that 8:30 am Friday presentation class you had a few years ago in college made you a passable expert in hungover bullshitting. Everyone seemed to buy your vague descriptions sprinkled with a few statements of “I’m just getting back from vacation, so I’m not completely familiar with that yet”. Either way, you’ve passed your first test, but the day is far from over.
The daze of the morning is finally wearing off and is rolling right into the dreaded two-day hangover. You’re not 21 years old anymore and your stomach is punishing you for trying to prove this wrong. You’ve taken in terrible food choices, disgusting amounts of food, and I almost forgot, enough alcohol to kill a bear over this vacation and it’s time to pay for that. The only relief is in the office bathroom, which you’ve learned to avoid since it seems to be continuously infested by the cloud from M. Night Shyamalon’s The Happening. Somehow your once in a blue moon awful BM is no match for the typical older office worker, which makes you wonder what the hell they’re doing to their bodies and how they’re still alive.
Halftime has arrived in this hell of a day. After sitting on the bench all morning, you deserve a break for the amazing accomplishments of not vomiting, keeping your dry heaves in the single digits, and only falling asleep once but waking up before anyone caught you. You’ve already told a few coworkers that you a have plans for lunch, just to avoid interacting with other people, so eating at your desk is out of the question. Since a 5 hour energy at this point would most likely cause an all out revolt by both your stomach and bowels, you decide to try to get a little energy for the afternoon and take a nap out in the parking lot. After getting a weird look for getting in the back seat of your car and uncomfortably curling up into the fetal position you pass out.
The alarm sounds, it felt like five minutes, and that nap made you even more tired than before. After contemplating having a “doctor’s appointment” for the rest of the afternoon, you decide that it’s better to just man up and go back to the office. With a quick glance in the rear view mirror, you realize that the similarities between your appearance and a Walking Dead zombie are growing. After a quick fix of your bed head in and a useless attempt to wipe the sleep from your eyes, you walk back inside for the second half of this day from hell.
The home stretch is finally here. You’ve gotten through a few hours of work without having to do anything before and you can do it again. Over the past few hours you’ve pulled out almost all the tricks in your arsenal. Besides organizing your inbox, walking a few laps around the building, getting multiple cups of coffee and then enduring the bathroom again as a result, you’re running low on time wasting activities. It’s time to pull out the old reliable that can’t fail: open up an important excel spreadsheet and pretend to do work while you day dream about doing work on that girl you were chatting up on tinder last weekend. Just remember to move your mouse every 15 minutes so you don’t go inactive on Microsoft Communicator, the office snitch.
You made it. Normally I’d say celebrate, but any more of that and you might end up actually needing the disability insurance you decided to pass up during benefits enrollment. It’s time to drive home, eat dinner, and go to bed two hours earlier than usual. After a performance like that, you’ve earned it.
Just like a drunken night of passions with a solid 8 must come to an end the next morning when you sober up and realize they’re a 5, every good thing must come to an end. Live it up on vacation, and don’t be the guy who comes back from a trip and says “It was relaxing, but I’m ready to get back to work.” Nobody likes that guy.