- No work phone
- No checking email (didn't even take the security card so I couldn't do web access)
- No contact at all
- Circular & email lists - standards bodies, HR and that sort of thing. No issues here
- Urgent requests for information - only one of these is now within time and they've managed to get the information from elsewhere while I was away
- Urgent requests for my feedback - about 40 of these, 38 appear to be not as urgent as the original email said as they've then followed up the out-of-office with a "when you get back", 1 has expired and the other one I'm doing this morning
- Problems that went away
- Urgent email asking for help
- Email sent cc'ing in others asking for how to contact me
- Alternative resolution suggested
- End of thread
The reason I bring this up is that too often in IT people burn themselves up with a mistaken view that working on holiday somehow makes you more valuable. It doesn't, it makes you an idiot and sets the expectations of others that you will do exactly what they ask, no matter how unreasonable it is. Holidays are there to be taken, its your right to take them and a decent company should be more than happy for you to take them as it makes sure you are more productive. The same goes for weekends, evenings and nights. I work late quite a lot, but only when I'm project managing or powerpoint/word writing. Coding means being fresh which means getting in the sleep.
If you work through your holiday then you are basically just saying that your life is less important to you than what work wants you to do. Does this mean you are more likely to get a pay rise? No. Want to know why?
Well first off your working in the holiday won't be visibile, if you get the work done then you'll get a pat on the head but nothing more. If it goes wrong you'll still get it in the neck and be blamed back at base "We are still waiting on George to deliver" and you can bet that the rider of "because he is currently trekking in Peru and only has a pigeons for communication" won't be added. This means that you don't get visibile credit and you do get visibile issues.
Secondly you are covering up for someone elses problem. Unless you have buggered up, in which case it is your fault, then the odds are someone else has made an error of either planning or execution which means they need your help to dig them out of the hole. If this is the PM on a project then you can bet they will take the credit and won't like to be reminded of their error.
Thirdly you are valuing your time cheaply. Why give a big pay-rise to someone who works 365 days a year already? Its not like they can do more.
I was told something in pretty much my first job when I was put under-pressure to cancel a holiday. The PM raised the issue up to the director that I wasn't "co-operating" and he summoned me to his office and said
Take your holidays and make sure we can't contact you. If it screws while you are away up we might shout, but we'll remember that only you could fix it.Its a message that has served me well. When I've been asked to work weekends I've asked for compensation, and got it. When I've been asked to cancel holidays I've told people to go hang, although on one occasion I did agree to do 3 days while on holiday, the company then paid for all two weeks and I did the work on the flight out there.
My point is this. Keeping in contact doesn't make you more important, it makes you more of a fool. It won't get you the rewards and it certainly won't get you the recognition.
When you take a break, plan for the break, make sure you have done everything that you should have done and everything that you are responsible for. Then get the hell out of there. Whenever a PM complained to me about people being on holiday being an issue I saw it as their problem and their fault for not planning and noted down the people who were the "issue" as being the people to reward.
Ditch the phone, ditch the email, ditch the contact. Kick back and relax. You'll feel better and others will feel better towards you now that they know they can't push you around so much.