Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Post-Vacation Melancholy

My wife and I resumed work today after a mini-vacation.  We took off Thursday and Friday of last week and used the US Monday quasi-holiday (Washington's birthday, aka "Presidents Day") to make a nice long five-day weekend.  We used the opportunity to go out into the mountains and be away from other people as much as possible.  It was great.

Fortunately both of our employers offer paid vacation.  Although I can't find it at the moment, I believe their stated motivation for doing so is to allow employees an opportunity for refreshment and renewal, so that we can come back to work ready to dive back into the job with sharpened focus and an enthusiasm to produce at optimum efficiency.

There's a catch, though.  Vacations have the opposite effect on me.  Every time I go on vacation, the last thing I feel like doing is going back to work.  Ever.  And the longer my vacation lasts, the less my enthusiasm is for getting back on the job.

I don't think this is a reflection on my job in particular, or my employer in general.  I think it's more of an attribute of my personality.  I've felt this way as long as I can remember.

The worst time of the week is late Sunday afternoon and evening.  Even though it's still technically the weekend, in the back of  your mind you know that Responsibilities lurk just around the corner.  That makes it hard to enjoy what should be glorious free time.

The worst day of vacation is always the last one, for the same reason.

The worst time of the year as a kid was the last few days before school (even worse than the first few days back at school).

Of course, not everyone feels the same way.  I remember during my own school-age years that some of my friends would actually claim they were looking forward to the start of school.  Because summer was getting boring, they said.  There wasn't enough to do, they said.  I always looked at these friends with a combination of astonishment and scorn.  How dare you have the audacity to take your freedom for granted.  You must be batshit insane.

I have relatives who have told me straight-faced that they have no plans to retire, ever.  What would they do with all of that free time?  It would be too boring, they say.

Some company (I forget which one) even went so far as to make TV commercials a few years back with the slogan "Thank God it's Monday".  Are there people who actually feel this way?

I have to admit, I am jealous of people who find passion and purpose in their jobs -- people who actually call their jobs "careers".  For me, I can't imagine finding anything I enjoy enough that I'd happily work on it 40 hours per week for years on end and not resent the lost opportunity to dabble in life's other pursuits.

At all times, I can easily come up with approximately eight billion things I would rather be doing instead of paid work.  Throughout my life I've always had to overcome this urge to do Other Interesting Things and instead focus on whatever my overseers dictated that I do -- homework, projects, assignments, and the like.  So far I've been able to produce just enough output to keep my superiors happy.  I hope I can keep this up for a few more years until the savings and investments allow me to transition to a permanent vacation.


  1. I'm even worse than you. I go through this melancholy mood pretty much every weekend. I'm elated on Friday afternoon and depressed by Sunday night. It seems like every weekend I'm trying to figure out a way to not have to go back in on Monday morning, and yet every Monday morning I'm going in anyway. Such is the way, I suppose.

    Best wishes!

    1. It's unfortunate that our employers can simultaneously be the source of our income and the source of our misery. We have to keep reminding ourselves that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just wish the tunnel wasn't quite so long.

  2. First Drudgery and now Dread...

    It is horrible that part time work isn't valued or secure because people don't get to find out where in the range of working hours balance might exist.

    As you know I've been shaving work hours off for years and having cut back another hour recently, I'm good with 11 hr/wk face time and 8 hr admin time. Enough income to support my interests and savings goals but no more dread. Mine always came the morning of. I've also found I like some work structure to my week, but on my terms.

    If given the chance, you might still discover the answer is really 0 hr/wk work but you won't actually know unless you are able to scale back gradually. Not having the choice forces an all or none game -- Much harder mentally/emotionally.

    1. I would love to work a 20-hour work week. Unfortunately the only way to do that in my area is to work some minimum wage job which won't get me to where I want to be financially.

      Actually, I would really love a zero-hour work week, but I don't have the resources to pull that off just yet.

      Sounds like you have a great work arrangement for yourself. Well done!

    2. Thanks! I would not have thought Canada was all that progressive but it's looking like we might be with respect to work options.

      The friends of ours who have paid off their house around the same time as you guys did, the husband (computer engineer) is exploring alternative work arrangements.

      His company (large) allows people to voluntarily cut back to 60% load with no hassle or loss of security and in his case, as he is a bit of a work horse, has started interviewing for part time contract work for something different to do as he is finding his full time job a bit boring.

      And I think they are pursuing future rental income ideas as well as his Dad owns 3 rentals and has a lot experience managing them.

      Wish you guys had similar options.

  3. Executioner,

    I saw one of your dividend-paying stock holdings, CLF, cut their dividend by 75% recently. Do you plan on making any adjustments based on this?

    1. I actually saw the writing on the wall on CLF and dumped it around the start of February along with PBI. I have some cash ready to deploy but right now I'm struggling to find buying opportunities, either in high yielders or in the more "classic" dividend growth names. Would like to see what next week brings after the latest round of political/budget nonsense passes its upcoming deadline.