Vacation is NOT a Dirty Word
June 17, 2022

In 1972 famed comedian George Carlin developed one of the best remembered bits in the history of stand-up entitled, “The Seven Dirty Words…”  These days I like to say that an eighth word has been added in the world of business:


A national conversation occurs annually about Americans’ lack of vacation and it has started again with the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s report that states, “The U.S. is the only advanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation days.”  These reports now come rapid fire as we begin summer but for me, this is top-of-mind after our ParenteBeard Partner Meeting last week in Chesapeake, Maryland.

As many companies will do, our off-site meetings are planned as an opportunity to bring partners together to discuss the “big picture” without day-to-day office distractions.  We rightly recognize that it’s just too hard for people to engage, discuss and dream a little when emails are flying, phones are ringing and the demands of daily life are calling.  And so, we take our team away from the daily grind.  Yet, while we are willing to step back in the name of improving our business, it’s also good to step back occasionally in the name of improving ourselves.

As a CEO, it may be hard to take advice about vacations from me.  I work hard and I love what I do.  But that love doesn’t make me immune to a bit of burnout now and again.  While it’s hard to find the time, I know vacation is necessary not only for me but also, for my family.  I find that a well-timed vacation – whether for traveling or just catching up on life – can be exactly what I need to think more clearly, more strategically and dare I say, better. I consider problems differently and stumble upon new ideas simply because I’m out of the office and out of my routine.

To me, vacation is less about unplugging and more about recharging.  People know themselves best and know how they need to recharge.  Whether it’s “going dark” for a week on Bora Bora or spending time at the shore where you check email once a day before hitting the beach, vacation is all about striking the right balance for recharging.  And I need to trust my team to know what works best for them.

What are your tips on recharging?

Thanks for stopping by.

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