Why You Should Not Go on Vacation

I took last week off from work and spent all of today regretting it. It is just not a good idea to take “vacation.” Or a sick day. Or, god forbid, a personal day. If I want to keep up, I should probably get a sleeping bag and camp out under my desk. This is what happens when you take a week off (and, note, since the whole office was closed last Monday it was technically only 4 days):

1. You return to three mountains of work in your office. Yes, three. Much of it was due today (and will still be sitting there tomorrow).

2. Your poor employee looks like she might defect if you ever leave her during such a stressful week again. (You should take her out to lunch.)

3. You are unable to tackle the three mountains of work because, while you were gone, the entire email system was prepared for a migration and there was an archiving seminar you missed. Thus, the IT guys who have come from New Jersey to do the migration stare in horror at the 23,000 (!) messages in your inbox and it takes until 7 at night to finish updating.

4. You overhear the IT guys making fun of you in the hallway.

5. They have also told anyone who will listen about your 23,000 (insert obligatory !) messages.

6. You can’t respond to emails (the migration makes using your computer unbearably slow), but you do happen to see the multiple emails saying such-and-such needs to release and where is it and oh right it’s in one of the three mountains in your office.

7. It takes some time to find each thing.

8. Speaking of projects releasing, you notice that design has released projects without showing corrections to copyediting and the projects have to be pulled so you can look at them, thus adding to the first of the three mountains, but it’s a good thing because the copyright years have inexplicably changed from 1984 to 1969 and no one would catch that but you.

9. Which you do, the only catch of the day.

10. Because you are the idiot who never archives her mailbox and has to figure out what to do with the 23,000 messages tomorrow.



  1. 23,000 messages… a veritable Kafkaesque technological nightmare. I should have known this was why your day was so horrible—the vacation! I hope you took pics of your vacation to remind you of how much you needed and enjoyed it?

  2. 4. You overhear the IT guys making fun of you in the hallway.

    let me at ’em. i’ll break their snooty stars-loving, microsoft entourage worshiping (ugh), “well, actually…” saying kneecaps.

    better yet, you should come train jiu-jitsu with me and then do it yourself next time.

    10. Because you are the idiot who never archives her mailbox and has to figure out what to do with the 23,000 messages tomorrow.

    if your IT admins actually installed decent mailserver software that did not come from Redmond, WA, you wouldn’t have to “archive” all those messages for them to do an “upgrade” and there wouldn’t be any of these problems… silly, silly admins.

  3. Oh my goodness. My sympathies. Hopefully ten years from now this will be one of those “look back and laugh” stories? Either way, not impressed with #4. That’s bad karma, IT guys! Lamers. I hope today treats you better despite the 23,000 emails. I will cross my fingers that dealing with them is as painless a process as it can be.

  4. W, I didn’t even go anywhere on vacation! So unfair!
    Annika, I agree! Maybe if I let them sit there long enough they’ll spontaneously combust.
    E, I love how protective you are 😉 I must say, the Mac IT guys at the training yesterday did not seem too pleased with Entourage. In fact, I may have noted some buried disdain during the powerpoint presentation (which was too blurry to read, but that’s not the fault of Microsoft; it was the crappy projector).
    Thanks, Courtney. I don’t like when people laugh at me, but I’m already starting to laugh at myself. I mean, really, I must seem crazy. I guess no one saves 23,000 emails in their inbox? Apparently some people even DELETE emails after only a month. I am such a packrat. I guess I live in Gmail Land, where supposedly you don’t have to delete things ever. (We’ll see how long that lasts on me.)

  5. Ooh, I’m going to check my g-mail now to see if I’ve got 23,000 e-mails. I thought you weren’t supposed to delete them? I haven’t got the hang of that archiving thingy yet either. I thought it was deliberately difficult to discourage people from using it. This is clearly some sort of technological secret certain people are in on (namely smirky IT guys) and others aren’t (me).

  6. W/R/T #4. I have to state upfront: I’m in IT — which allows me a perspective some wouldn’t have (but please keep reading….) From my experience over 2 decades, this is truthful:

    They laughed at you? Of course they did.

    They have little to laugh at if not for the people who provide the reason for the existence of their jobs. After all, they live in small dark room where they often remove lightbulbs and natural light (provides an unwelcoming atmosphere to keep people away), with lots of equipment capable of horrible noise that will kill the sensitive nerves in their ears before they are 50, playing sudoku and World of Warcraft most days between urgent pleas from users to do things like recover 23000 emails that they (probably) had a business reason to keep. A stereotype? Well, sometimes there is a reason for such sterotypes.

    Here is something to make you laugh at most IT guys. Just replace geeky IT guy described with the image of the guys who laughed at you.

    One of the salesreps exploded angrily the other day insisting that someone assist with a net presentation that she realized she didn’t have access to 5 minutes before the start of a salescall. She yelled at the IT guy: “Get me connected! Do it now! Were you at lunch or something?” Poor guy leaves his online gaming activities & half-eaten pb&j sandwich. He runs (as fast as he can) down the hall, one arm balancing laptop, projector, cables, extension cord. The other hand? Used, without much success, to keep his pants from falling down to his ankles because, apparently, he once again forgot to put on a belt when he dressed that morning.

    Now, who is laughing?

    (P.S. Delete those emails, but not because they laughed at you. What a burden to think that you might have to read through them someday when you could spend that time reading good fiction — or writing it!)

  7. Okay, so, in case anyone is wondering (not like it matters to you if I have 23,000 emails at work), but I am now completely archived! In my inbox now at work are maybe 20 emails. Yes, 20. The rest are all filed away in neat little folders where I can find them later, because I do tend to refer to (some of) them often and I don’t want to have to print hard copies. How organized am I?!
    Now let’s just hope my hard-drive doesn’t die and accidentally erase the archive and all will be well.
    Cam, your story is hysterical. Thank you! It’s funny, but one of the IT guys was trying to be friendly yesterday and when he saw how stressed I was about the three mountains in my office he told me a very important quote that came to mind. It was something about trying or doing or I don’t recall. And he said, don’t you know that saying? And I’m like no. And he said, Yoda said that when so-and-so was trying to lift the such-and-such spacecraft in Empire Strikes Back. I think I may have wanted to laugh at that moment, so I guess his cheering up worked.

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