Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Summer vacation? What's that?

You can run, but you can’t hide.

We’re talking about work, which today—thanks to every manner of mobile device—seems to stick to people like ticks on a dog.

Once, working a short stint in a government contract shop years ago, I had a colleague—an intense, red-faced fellow who looked like a poster boy for a cardiac event—who every evening lugged home massive hard-copy contracts to work on them at night. He seldom took vacations, and when he did, he hauled his work right along with him.

Most people at that time thought the guy was nuts. Extremely conscientious and dedicated, but nuts.

Today people like him are no longer the eccentric exceptions. The massive contract that guy used to carry—in fact, entire libraries of contracts and other like documents—are as close and accessible as the nearest iPad or other device. Today there seem to be armies of intense, cardiac-ready individuals who can’t leave work behind—as well as employers who expect to be able to reach employees 24/7, 365.

And that includes summer vacation.

TeamViewer, an online meeting and web-conferencing software firm, recently sponsored a Harris Interactive online poll of more than 1,300 employed U.S. adults and found that more than half—52 percent—said they planned to work during summer vacation. The men in the sample were even more likely than women to plan on working during vacation: 56 percent vs. 47 percent.

Of the employee respondents, 30 percent said they would read work-related emails during their summer vacation, 23 percent said they would take work-related phone calls, 18 percent would take work-related texts, and 13 percent said they will want access to a document on their work computer. Thirteen percent also said they’d be asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague.

The question is: Why would employees want to do such a thing?

Are people simply conscientious? Are they that hung up on their careers? Or are they afraid of losing jobs in a tight job market?

Maybe they’re fearful that—if they don’t stay on top of things—they’ll just have to clean up a mess when they return from vacation.

Or maybe people, trained by their devices to engage in constant online fidgeting, can’t resist just taking a peek at work email, and while they’re peeking, maybe just answering a few emails and getting roped into a conference call or web presentation. And then maybe just taking a quick look at some report.

What about federal employees? Are you guys any different? With the amount of heat feds have been taking on a range of fronts these days—threats of further pay and benefits cuts, downsizing proposals, scandals of one sort or another—one would think federal employees would be the last folks who would want to sacrifice vacation time by doing more work.

So we ask: Do you plan to work, or have you worked, while on vacation this summer?

If so, why? You’re the federal employees. You tell us.


Posted by Phil Piemonte on Jul 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM

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