Vacation time is sacred. When you’re on holiday, you’re supposed to be chilling, relaxing, and reenergizing in whatever way feels right for you. Maybe you feel the best laying on the beach and soaking in the rays. Or you prefer taking long hikes in misty mountain forests. Or you can recharge by spending time with family or all alone in your garage, working on your hobbies.
But let’s get real for a second here. Many of us know from practice that this isn’t how the real world works. Plenty of us have had our precious vacation time interrupted in one way or another, whether by accident or by someone at work who has no understanding of boundaries. However, odds are that you haven’t been interrupted while on holiday like redditor u/Disposable70 was back in the ’70s.
In a post on the r/MaliciousCompliance subreddit, the IT professional, who was also in charge of payroll, explained how he went on holiday to a cabin with no phones without having been given a proper backup to train beforehand. However, his idyllic time with his family, out in nature, was slightly interrupted by his boss in the most peculiar way we’ve ever heard about. Scroll down for the redditor’s full story in his own words.
The author of the post, u/Disposable70, was kind enough to share some of his thoughts about what happened and what helps create a good relationship between management and employees. He stressed that the company owners “were good people” who treated him well, and that his boss was a good friend of his. Scroll down to see what the redditor told Bored Panda.
Meanwhile, we also got in touch with workplace expert Lynn Taylor, the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant’ and the CEO of accessory brand ‘Behind the Buckle,’ who shared some of her awesome insights about having a healthy work-life balance, enforcing boundaries with your boss, and shifting gears once you actually start your vacation. “Setting boundaries with your boss and coworkers is essential to job satisfaction. And going on holiday is no exception. The more planning, the less stress,” she told us. Check out the full interview below so you know what to do the next time you’re getting ready for some paid time off.
Heading off for some quality time away from your desk isn’t always a clean break. Sometimes, your boss might want to get a hold of you while you’re on vacation
Image credits: August de Richelieu (not the actual photo)
An IT pro shared the extraordinary lengths his boss went to in order to get a hold of him during his family holiday at a remote cabin
Image credits: eberhard grossgasteiger (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Cody Fitzgerald (not the actual photo)
Redditor u/Disposable70, the man behind the popular post, told Bored Panda that the plane wasn’t as luxurious as some people make it sound.
“It was a 4-seater Cessna that the company owned for transporting management to the oil rigs. When I saw the police boat coming I was a bit surprised, but in a mall town it is not unusual for police to support the tourism,” he shared with us.
“Actually, I was flattered that they thought I was important enough to do it.”
When asked about how he felt about being promoted to replace his boss a few months down the line, the redditor said: “I felt bad for my boss, we had become good friends, but he was in over his head, I stayed friends with him for years after. He even helped me a few times when I was in a spot.”
According to the author, work-life balance is tricky. “Because my parents died when I was young, I never had a chance to go to college. So I would go to the library and get books on coding, so I was self-taught. This made me feel like I had to work harder than the people all around me who had degrees,” he opened up.
“But my wife was a teacher, we had 2 small children and we always seemed to cover all the bases. Actually, my boss complimented me on how well I handled work/home balance.”
The redditor noted that, years later, when he had his own company, he was “very lenient” with his employees when conflict arose. The result? Something most bosses would give nearly anything to have—loyalty.
“My people always paid me back in their loyalty and hard work. My theory is that good employees are the most valuable asset a company can have. Most of them still call and chat frequently. One of them was hired by Rackspace and immediately put us on a favored vendors list.”
Meanwhile, Lynn, the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant’ and the head of ‘Behind the Buckle,’ shared some of her tips that can help employees mitigate any holiday interruptions that might otherwise rush their way.
“Give your boss and key coworkers advance notice on when you are leaving for holiday, with a ‘countdown’—such as: ‘Just a heads up. I will be leaving in two weeks for holiday.’ Follow that up one week in advance, and a couple days before your departure. How you communicate this and the frequency of course depends on how much interaction you generally have with your boss,” she explained to Bored Panda.
Meanwhile, make sure that you’ve done everything that you needed regarding your workload well in advance, so there’s nothing crucial left unattended. Something else that you can do is to designate a coworker as an interim contact who can answer everyone’s questions while you’re gone. “Offer your colleague clear project status, instructions, and contact info. on how to reach you in an emergency,” workplace expert Lynn said. “Before you leave, give your boss a thorough summary of your pending projects and the name of your interim contact.”
Don’t forget to let your clients and vendors know that you’ll be away for some well-deserved RnR, too. Consider giving them your emergency office contact. Oh, and something else to remember is making sure that you turn on your ‘out of office’ reply function wherever it’s needed, including the day that you return.
“To mitigate interruptions, make it clear in your out of office reply that you will be checking email from time to time, but will have limited access. Also mention this in your status email to the boss and any appropriate colleagues,” Lynn said that crystal-clear communication can help avoid trouble further down the line.
Bored Panda was very interested to get the workplace expert’s take on how to shift gears and forget all about work once we’re officially on holiday. There’s no denying that many of us think about our work even when we’re lazing around at a beach (some, including yours truly, more than others). There are few things worse than having that nagging feeling that you might have missed an important email when you’re supposed to be recharging.
“It can be challenging to unplug in today’s 24/7 wired existence, especially at the beginning of your holiday. Still, it’s essential to getting the maximum benefit from your time away and feeling refreshed,” Lynn, the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant,’ said.
“If work is heavy on your mind during your time off, consider the following steps:
- Remind yourself that you have an interim contact who will advise you of anything critical. Have faith and confidence in all the steps you took in advance of your holiday.
- If it will calm your nerves, you can check your email in the beginning, but try to avoid it. This is a rare and valued retreat from your work life.
- Any work-related activities you engage in should have boundaries you set. For example, if you decide you want to check emails twice while away and only spend a total of 30 minutes on all things work, then stick to that,” the expert shared with Bored Panda.
“Remember that if you don’t take advantage of your holiday and decompress, you will not be as refreshed—and may resent your colleagues upon return. Only you hold the key to your level of relaxation during your great work escape,” she stressed that it’s in everyone’s best interest that you unplug and come back reenergized.
It is astonishing that the redditor’s boss would have gotten a hold of the police just to contact him… or that he’d send a plane to fly him back. Though we have to remember that things worked a bit differently back in the ’70s. The employee ended up going back to the office and compressing a full week’s work into a mere two days. Luckily, he was able to get an extra week off and even got his cabin rental all paid for.
When you’re making happy childhood memories for your kids by fishing with them, probably the last thing you want is to see the police approaching you in their boat, telling you your company called. But hey, at least they sent a plane to fly you back, right? Besides, the redditor noted that his boss “was apologetic for a change.” In short, the situation shows just how much the company valued their employee’s work… though perhaps not their work-life balance.
The OP shared some more details about what happened in the comments
Here’s how some people reacted to the AITA post
Paid time off is a right. Unfortunately, for some bosses and managers, it’s merely a suggestion. A consideration. A recommendation. And they might refuse some of their employee’s queries about going on holiday. Recently, Bored Panda spoke to Anna and Sarah, the founders of the ‘Work Wives’ podcast, about being denied paid time off and what to do when you encounter a difficult manager.
“We all want to look out for ourselves first, especially when we are seeking leave from work, but most reasonable companies won’t deny leave unless there’s a logical reason. Will you be leaving the workplace short-staffed? Do they need you specifically around that time? You need to consider how important your leave is and whether you’d really be putting your team in a difficult position for a trip to Cancun,” they explained that having a bit of flexibility isn’t a bad thing.
“Could you offer to be available at certain times online? Think about how you can work with your employer to get the best outcome for you both. If the leave denial is completely unreasonable, you need to escalate it to senior management because there’s obviously been a misunderstanding that needs to be addressed,” they told us that, in some cases, it’s a back-and-forth type of negotiation regarding time off.
Even though it’s easy to always paint your superiors as the villains in these sorts of situations, the fact of the matter is that it’s through empathy and understanding that you’ll get through to them. Effective workplace communication means understanding their perspective as well (even if you really would rather not.)
“Try to understand why they are managing the way that they are and consider what challenges they might be facing, either personally or professionally,” Anna and Sarah stressed that it’s vital to remember that managers are people, too.
“There are a lot of managers who don’t have great leadership skills, but on that point, you don’t have to be a manager to be a great leader in your workplace. You can lead the situation with a controlling boss by staying a step ahead and working to anticipate what concerns they might have, then you can come to them with the solutions already in hand,” they told Bored Panda.
“Understand that your manager is a human who has faults of their own and try not to take their poor management personally. Be the kind, encouraging, and supportive leader that your workplace is lacking and your peers will naturally flock to you in your role,” they said that if employees are dissatisfied with the way things are run, they should strive to be the types of leaders that they would choose to follow.
Some people had a hard time believing the story, but others came forward with similar tales