Hello from the Northeast on this snowy April Fools Day! It is one of those times when the idea of a Caribbean vacation sounds really good, even though spring is theoretically already here.
Speaking of vacations, they can be wonderful or, well, stressful. While we take time off to rejuvenate, sometimes the relaxation takes a back-seat to duty. Whether we are frantically trying to finish up work right before we go away or, possibly, bring work with us to on our well-deserved journey, it is tough to completely let go of our projects.
Dawn (not her real name), was a graduate student in the life sciences. She was always conscientious of completing her work, and she told her supervisor about her upcoming (5 day) vacation a few weeks in advance. Journeying through the Grand Canyon, Dawn could not have brought computer-related work with her even if she wanted to. She arrived back at work refreshed, but her supervisor was not thrilled.
"Where were you last Friday? " he demanded. "You know we had group meeting, and we had to make decisions about your project without you. Your input would have been useful."
"Well," Dawn said "I told you about my vacation a month ago."
"You should have reminded me right before, Dawn" her supervisor replied. "Then we could have discussed these issues before you left. I cannot keep track of where everyone is."
Fortunately, the decisions that were made without Dawn were not critical to her project, but Dawn certainly learned her lesson. Besides planning the vacation itself, we need to make sure that all of the loose threads are wrapped up before we leave. Most supervisors need to be reminded several times of your vacation, so they can plan their work accordingly. If you have a very hands-off supervisor, it is still a good idea to let him/her know of your whereabouts, in case the one time he/she decided to pop into your office, you happen to be miles away. Feeling overwhelmed the weeks/days before taking off? Just think of the extra energy you'll bring back with you, that will motivate you for quite a while.
Summer is just around the corner, we hope you have exciting plans!
Wishing you the best,
Dora Farkas, PhD, Founder, PhDNet