Spring Break... Forgotten in the Work World
Leveraging the Past for Future Success
Spring Break! It is an expectation and privilege the American School kid looks forward to annually. After months of sloshing through the snow and cold to be buried in piles of homework it is a time of taking a breath of fresh spring air and rejuvenation of spirit. Remember Spring Break?
It is amazing that we who are in the work world forget how great it was to take frequent breaks after enduring a period of significant achievement or hard work in school. When we were kids the breaks were imposed by the school system with the understanding that it was necessary to give the students a time to rest the mind and rejuvenate the spirit. Somewhere along the way we forgot to carry this whole practice forward into adulthood and the work world.
If it is a good practice for students, why is it not a good practice for adults? Yes, the adult mind can take more stress than a child’s. Yes, an adult has more stamina to work longer hours and with heavier burdens. But… how much better would we be professionally if we had a forced break every three to four months? Think about it… Companies in other countries provide much more vacation time, holidays and time off than US based organizations.
Seriously, I question whether US based companies are really getting more accomplished with the hard driving, 24-hour on-call schedules than other businesses around the world offering a differing culture. If you work for or partner with companies outside of the US, you know this is a differentiator within the workplace abroad. It causes US team members to wish they worked elsewhere, had more work/life balance and wonder what they are missing outside of such demanding expectations. Is our balance in life really a balance?? I think not and believe progressive businesses will look for opportunities to allow for more free time, so a better work/life balance will be fostered. A fresh mind is far more effective than one which is tired and overburdened.
So, let me be the cry in the wilderness to advocate in favor of Spring Break and other forced breaks for all the hard working, stressed out professionals out there. Remember how great it was to bask in the sun on a beach for a week before taking on that push toward finals. Wouldn’t it be nice??? Well, let’s start influencing the work culture around us by expecting more work/life balance for a healthier and happier LIFE.
Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Career Leverage Advisors