The 5 Stages Of Holiday Anxiety
Holiday. As a concept it is all things considered pretty fantastic. You get to turn your life off for a certain period of time, go somewhere new and interesting and theoretically come back relaxed and refreshed and buzzing with ideas. Generally speaking, unless some disaster such as illness or terrorist strike occurs, this is the way it all works out.
Nonetheless I dread holidays. Not so much for what goes on during them, but for the fact that the process of pausing your existing life and then picking up the threads afterwards can be a source of so much stress and anxiety that you find yourself wondering if it really was worth the effort in the first place. This is particularly true if you are the kind of person who despite all advice to the contrary actually gives a damn about their job and is dedicated enough to want it all to run smoothly in your absence. I’ve worked out in the past that there are five stages holiday of anxiety that you go through before, during and immediately after your break from the normal routine.
1) Preparation Anxiety
The need to make sure you leave everything in a tidy state, with all current projects either finished, in a position to be suspended for a week or so, or at the very least documented to the extent that whoever has been tasked with covering for your absence will be able to deal with anything that might crop up while you are away. Some may find this rather therapeutic, and actually a good excuse to clear up many loose ends that have been dangling for a while, waiting for you to find the right moment to wrap it all up. In contrast I generally find this completely ruins the final Friday at work, the clock ticking away until the end of the day suddenly acting like a giant hanging guillotine, marking an arbitrary deadline for a job which under normal circumstances you would be happy to leave until Monday to view things with fresh eyes. I remember once in a previous life electing to set up a new printer server at 3.30pm on my final afternoon, simply because it was a job that needed doing and if it wasn’t done then, the department in question would have to wait another week for their new machine to go online. Of course the damn thing wouldn’t configure properly and at 6pm when everyone else had vanished to the pub I was still wrestling with it and frantically swapping out similar units from other devices elsewhere in the building to track down the problem. I ended up writing my final holiday notes to brief my colleagues on the state of other matters at 7.30pm. Two hours into my holiday in theory.