You can enjoy a job and still want to be away from it

Published on 20 March 2012 in

Last summer I was made redundant and started the hunt for a new job. Naturally this involved a few interviews.

One was a rather informal-ish chat (well it was in a branch of Starbucks) with the owner of a small design agency. Whilst talking he seemed to keep probing around how I’d find a new role after so many years at the BBC. One of the things he mentioned at least twice was that I’d probably get less annual leave in a new role.

I said that yes, I probably would. I’d been at the BBC long enough to qualify for long service leave and it was nice to have the extra days, but as I told him, I wasn’t unduly worried about having less leave.

He commented that his company gave 20 days leave and that many companies did the same (by law employers must give 28 days but this can include all Bank Holidays, and in England and Wales there are 8 of them.) But such a low leave policy was all right, he went on, as people who were very happy in their job didn’t mind about not having lots of annual leave.

At the time I didn’t think too much of this. I was more concerned with the stress and hassle of finding a new income stream. But whilst working out my holidays for 2012 it suddenly came back to me and I couldn’t help but think what an arrogant statement it was.

It’s arrogant as it assumes purely that people live to work. That there is nothing else in their life that they want to do more than go to work. That they have no dreams, no ambitions, no goals of their own. That people have nothing more in their lives than to do their boss’s bidding.

Now some people are so wedded to their job that that’s all they do in their life. But the “live to work” brigade is a minority.

Most of us fit firmly in the “work to live” category. Where we earn money that allows us to put a roof over our heads, pay the bills and (hopefully) have a little left over to spend on our leisure activities.

And we have leisure activities we want to do, that have to be squeezed in to the mundane tasks of simply living. When I do get home there’s the washing, the ironing, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the hovering and the gardening to do. And let’s not forget the family time too. That’s before we consider all the other ad hoc tasks to do like decorating or buying that new sofa we desperately need.

That’s a lot that gets in there way before the things I want to do.

So I, like most people, grab hold of my annual leave and make the most of our time out of work. We use that time to get on with things that we want to do. And many people simply can never have enough annual leave to do all the things we desire.

I’m not someone who wants my job to rule my life. I have other goals and ambitions. I’m more than glad that I enjoy my job but if I’m always in the office what would I be earning money for?

Some employers may have their reasons for not being too generous with annual leave provision. But one thing is for sure: an employee can be happy in their job and still want some time away from the office. And any employer who doesn’t believe that has no respect for their employees as far as I’m concerned