As my family and I make the journey to Virginia I realize I haven’t written a post in a while. It’s been a hell of time the past few weeks; with the holidays and a software release my team has been working on for the past 4 weeks taking up most of my time. But, enough with the excuses. Since I’m stuck in a car I may as well write something.
Am I the only one who misses college? After constantly hearing, “damn, college was awesome. I wish I could go back” from every single “older person” I agree wholeheartedly with them. We could go out whenever we wanted. Our bodies could handle the copious amounts of alcohol we consumed. We needed very little sleep; in fact, all-nighters were the norm.
Then, we graduated. We got jobs (minus a toolbag we know). Spring break vanished. No long Christmas vacation. Weekday socializing became a thing of the past; condensed into Friday and Saturday. Maybe our hangover would be gone by Monday morning.
After moving to London, I’ve found the majority of socializing occurs during the week. Salsa dancing on Tuesdays. Drinks on Wednesdays. Christmas parties. Deadlines hit. There is almost always an excuse to go grab a few pints after work. Most of the time a “few” becomes “way too many.”
This is a pretty big change for me, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve used many weekends to recover. Here comes the shout out. I have no idea how anyone I go out with does it. These British people are crazy good at drinking. After 4-5 pints I struggle to get up the next day, but I when I get to the office they act like it was just another night. Maybe they’re just really good at hiding the horrible hangovers.
I have no doubt these weekday shenanigans will continue, but since I’ve only been around for ~6 weeks I’m sure my weekend activities are bound to change.
Holiday is a Serious Matter
Do you remember vacation? In case you don’t, it’s what you do in order to get away from everything and relax.
When I started my first “real person” job two years ago, I was amazed at the amount of vacation I received. Fifteen days! Can you believe it?!? Most of my friends from college and Michigan got around ten, so I considered myself lucky.
This would have been a dream come true if I had actually used those days. Save a few, I rarely took time off.
Why didn’t I take more vacation? I wanted to prove myself. It was my first job after college, and I had somehow “tricked” this company into hiring me. They couldn’t find out they’d made a mistake. Next, we were about to release a product that had been in the works for a better part of the year. Lastly, I was under the impression I was moving to London early in my second year. When you may need to drop everything and move suddenly, it’s surprisingly hard to plan your life, nonetheless time off.
It was quite a surprise to me when I realized all of this holiday (vacation) stuff was different in the UK.
Gone is the time where fifteen days is adequate vacation. Twenty-five is the new default, and I couldn’t be happier. This, coupled with bank holidays, which are synonymous with Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc., gives me so much time to explore and relax.
When I say relax, I mean relax. On the rare occasion I would take holiday in the USA, I would usually be checking my email everyday. My manager may have called. I felt obligated to respond if something went wrong or somebody needed information. It was how I was conditioned from day one.
This is nowhere close to the attitude in London. When you take holiday, you take holiday. No calls from work. No need to check email (for the most part). It’s a time to relax, because when it’s over, it’s time to get back to work and get shit done.
I’ve been seeing this difference for the past six weeks, but it really hit home the week I arrived. My current team lead was on vacation; a well-deserved one from what I understand. I remember very few people asking for him during that time. It seemed that everyone knew he was on holiday and had accepted the fact that he was going to be away for another week. How awesome is that?!?
Overall, the attitude is “Work hard, play hard, relax,” and I admit to enjoying it thoroughly.
Until next time…