Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Longing For a Holiday

I'm in the mood for a holiday. I’m not quite sure why now? Well actually, I have a few ideas. When I was in Boston, summer was considered holiday time. Even though technically, you could take your vacations anytime of the year, most people would take at least one break during the summer. The pace of work at the office also slowed down. There was a wonderfully languid mood in the office, as people seemed to talk and walk much slower. Deadlines were pushed back and much of the serious work was postponed till fall when many people would have returned from their various holidays bringing the serious air back with them.

I was entitled to fifteen business days off per year, which amounts to three weeks. This was quite good in the US, where many people (at my level anyway) got two weeks and in some cases one. In Nigeria, it seems that many people I know are entitled to as much as six weeks, which they always never seem to get.

One weird thing I’ve noticed about Nigeria is how when people are lucky enough to get time off, they take all their vacation time at once. I cannot imagine taking six weeks off at once, except I wanted to travel somewhere very far away. I think that it’s too much and I know I’d be bored or tired of it after about two weeks. Maybe that’s another reason why it’s so hard to get employers to approve vacation time – because they know they’ll be losing manpower for about month and a half.

Anyway, back to my desire for a vacation. It’ll probably take a few years before I stop associating this time of year with summer breaks. But in the meantime, I really want to take off somewhere and spend my days eating and reading. I have so many books to catch-up on before I can start buying new books (this is working quite well, btw. I’m steadily working my way through my library). I want to start Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations next or perhaps one of my many and still un-read Doris Lessing Books. I want to save the really thick ones for when I am on vacation. I started The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing in 2001 and I’m still not a quarter of the way through. I gave up and decided that I could not keep going back to see who was who and what their story was anymore. I’ll just wait until I have more time. I’m also going to wait to start Vanity Fair by William Thackeray. I can’t wait! But, when will I get this huge, delicious block of time? It gets harder the older you get. Perhaps I just need to be more disciplined about sneaking in reading into my spare minutes.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if American culture deliberately encourages the idea that six consecutive weeks of vacation would be boring to keep their workers working.

Ore said...

Always a thought I guess, though I personally don't agree with it.

I think it probably comes down more to individual personalities. And in my case, two weeks is about an optimum amount of vacation time.

I also think that taking a number of shorter breaks throughout the year actually refreshes you and makes you more productive in the longer run.