August 18, 2013 § 1 Comment
So many assistants look forward to the long weeks when their employers go off on their family vacations with the kids. We dream of lazy days of rolling into the office after 10:00 am, catching up with friends who didn’t know we were still alive, and checking out all those amazing places you make reservations for your boss during the year (massages and restaurants are at the top of my list).
Many of you will be left with “spare time to-do lists” that never happen. For me that always included my home obligations. Being home more to manage my own repairs or having my kid’s friends over more so they actually experienced a social life was really important! But I was usually the last one offered time off. Everyone must get their vacations in while the principles are out-of-town, but the assistant is usually left to supervise all the repairs the owners want done while they are gone. Often these plans are made before they go away in repeated comments like, “While I’m gone is a great time to do…”
I remember one Easter week I had to move the contents of a two-story home in Bel Air into storage, have floors replaced, house painted and furnishings moved back in like nothing happened. I did say Easter WEEK! While you may get a hefty bonus for pulling off Mission Impossible-esq duties, it wears very thin. Sometimes you just want to be at the beach.
The solution? Make your lists of what needs to be done and schedule in time for yourself to be off. Make sure you tell your employer that this is the opportunity for you to get time off so you don’t have to take it when they are back and more inconvenienced. Tell the staff too. Remember, the last one to make vacation or stay-cation plans is the one that loses. And yes, they will survive one week without you, even if they have to put someone else in charge.
And no, I’m not completely crazy. You may not be able to turn your phone off but you can minimize the times you have to check it. Set up a time at the end of the day to return emails and leave messages. (If you do it at the beginning of your day you will stress about what you cannot do and this is counter-productive). Make it clear in your vacation voicemail and email responder the times you are available. I learned way too late in this game that if you don’t make time for yourself you will never feel rested, recharged and ready when they return.
- Plan a to-do list for your employer and schedule when the vendors will work that is realistic and allows for a couple of extra days for delays
- Schedule when you will be off within this time frame
- Make sure EVERYONE is aware of the time you are off (this includes vendors)
- Make sure you have elected someone in charge to make decisions, cleared by your employer, and tell the vendors in advance
- Program your voicemail with a message that your are off and when you can respond and leave the number of who is in charge in your absence
- Program your email with a vacation auto responder to notify everyone that you may cannot get back to them and leave the email of the person designated to respond in your absence
- Enjoy your time off! Your family will not care how hard you worked for them. It’s the memories you create with them that count.