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10 Things You Should Not Do During Vacations From Work

10 Things You Should Not Do During Vacations From Work

When you take real vacations from work it is a sacred time. You’re spending time away from the office and relaxing. It’s a ritual millions of people follow every year because if you work constantly then you’d probably go totally insane. There are a lot of people who still get roped into doing stuff while on vacation so here is a small set of rules for when you’re on vacation.

1. Don’t answer any emails

There are few things on this planet that can derail a peaceful and relaxing day like getting an email from work. Usually if it comes to the point that you’re getting emails it means that there is a problem that they think only you can fix. Or (more likely) they don’t want to figure it out for themselves and would rather bother you on your time off. In either case you should not answer the email unless the words “life or death” are put in there and it’s literal. If you were supposed to be working you would be at work. You’re not because you’re on vacation. Put the laptop, phone, or tablet down and let them deal with it. Worst case scenario, you have to fix it when you come back to work next week.

2. Don’t be afraid to take your full vacation

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real vacations from work

    You cannot be fired for taking vacation time. According to a global survey, more than half of people don’t take their full vacation time. Of those that do, a measly 2% reported that they don’t interact with work at all. What kind of vacations are people taking these days? If the company didn’t want you to take a vacation then they wouldn’t give you vacation hours. Use your vacation time. That’s why you have it. For vacations!

    3. Don’t do any actual work

    We said earlier that you shouldn’t take any emails but we’re not stupid. If it’s a dire emergency or something that can be handled in a few minutes, you’re going to answer your emails anyway. If that happens then it happens. However, if you end up spending 6 hours on your laptop in your hotel room then you’re not on vacation. You’re working. There comes a point where you need to say “I’m on vacation and I’m sorry but someone else is going to have to handle this.” Don’t be rude about it but everyone knew you were going on vacation so they plenty of time to plan for your absence.

    4. Leave whatever city you live in

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    real vacations from work

      I know a number of people who take a vacation and then they don’t go anywhere. Sitting in the house (or apartment) for a week doing nothing is really just a really long day off. The point of a vacation is to get away from it all and enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be far. Take a 30 minute trip outside the city to go camping or drive a couple of hours to an amusement park. Something, anything to get you away from the stuff you see every day. Vacation isn’t just a break from work, it’s a break from life.

      5. Relieve yourself of the addicting work place

      You’re stressed out from work but there comes a certain warmth and joy from the job. Answering all those emails, getting work done, and those long nights at the office do have their benefits. You have a purpose and you feel important. The constant stimulus can be addicting. Being addicted to work is tough because most people who are addicted to work don’t even know it. If you would rather be at the office than drinking a beer and watching a sunset around a bonfire then there is something wrong. When you’re on vacation, try not to do things that remind you of work. If you sit in front of a computer screen, don’t go to Vegas and sit in front of a slot machine. That’s too similar to what you already do.

      6. Do something you’ve never done before

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      real vacations from work

        It can be anything. Have you ever tie dyed a t-shirt? Why not give that a shot? When you go on vacation, you’re forging new memories. It’s hard to do that if you don’t do anything out of your normal routine. If you drink beer and watch sports at home and then drink beer and watch sports on vacation then are you really going to find that vacation memorable? We talked earlier about going somewhere different so there are plenty of places around. When I was in Army Basic Training, my dad took a week long vacation to come down and see me when I graduated. We ended up going to a lot of different places including a restaurant that sold lizard. He didn’t much like the lizard but he did have a fun story to tell when he got home.

        7. Don’t spend the whole time in a phone or a laptop

        Just because you’re not using those devices for work doesn’t mean you should still be on them. Of course texting family or receiving calls are things you should still do but if you spent all that money and time getting to a ski resort only to sit in the main building, sip cocoa, and play the latest fad game (Swing Copters) then you’re doing it wrong. Those devices will be in your pocket or hotel room when you need them. Take a look around and enjoy your surroundings. Technology is great but technology is also always around. You’re not doing yourself any favors letting those LCD screens take up all of your time.

        8. Don’t talk yourself into hating your vacation

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        take real vacations from work

          You’ve probably seen a movie or two where someone is on vacation and they hate every second of it. Don’t be that person. If you’ve planned the trip and you’re on the flight then the deed has been done. Even if you don’t want to be on the vacation you should try to toss your worries aside and try to enjoy yourself. There is no use being negative over something you can’t fix so you might as well try to enjoy it!

          9. Don’t forge to splurge a little

          When I went on vacation to Cocoa Beach, Florida, I made it my mission in life to go find a Ron Jon Surf Shop and buy something. Why? Where I live (in Ohio), we don’t have a Ron Jon Surf Shop and buying something from them online felt like a cop out. I ended up buying a t-shirt and shorts but I ended up not tying the shorts when I went swimming in the ocean and the ocean took my shorts. As embarrassing of a story as that is, it’s something I can laugh about now and I still have that $30 t-shirt to help me remember that time Cocoa Beach ate my swimming trunks. By spending a few bucks and getting something nice from the place you go to, you have a commemorative decoration that will help remind you that there are things other than work.

          10. Enjoy yourself

          real vacations from work

            If you’re not enjoying yourself then your vacation was not successful. Go have a few drinks, go scuba diving, go read a book on a beach somewhere. Whatever you enjoy doing you should be doing. Don’t go somewhere or do something because it’s the socially accepted practice for vacations. If you like ice and snow, vacation to Alaska. If you want to go back to your hometown and visit your family then go do that. The point is that you should be relaxing, enjoying yourself, and no worrying about life.

            Featured photo credit: HQ Wallbase via hqwallbase.com

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            Joseph Hindy

            A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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            Published on September 16, 2020

            12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

            12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

            Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

            Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

            Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

            Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

            Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

            Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

            1. Organization

            When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

            When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

            Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

            To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

            To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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            2. Flexibility

            You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

            Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

            For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

            To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

            To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

            3. Collaboration

            As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

            Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

            To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

            To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

            4. Poise

            Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

            When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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            What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

            To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

            To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

            5. Communication

            Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

            When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

            To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

            To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

            6. Good Computer Hygiene

            Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

            Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

            To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

            To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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            7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

            Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

            Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

            To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

            To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

            8. Respecting Feedback

            In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

            Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

            To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

            To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

            9. Project Management

            Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

            To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

            To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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            10. Staying up to Speed

            Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

            To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

            To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

            11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

            “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

            To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

            To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

            12. Teamwork

            Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

            Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

            To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

            To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

            Final Thoughts

            Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

            More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

            Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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