Leaving behind the wondrous smells of summer – barbecue, mown grass, suntan lotion – the sounds of kids splashing in water, the sight of clouds like giant sheep drifting across a slow summer sky, we emerge through the wormhole tunnel that is the Labour Day weekend into a different reality dimension. Here be dragons, timelines, schedules, obligations and the sure knowledge of winter to come. But we’re ready for all to that, refreshed and eager to return to the fray.
Not all of us get to take summer holidays, however, and many do keep up their rushed schedules right through July and August. But even for the chronically overworked, summer is a bit of a respite if only because everyone else seems to be in vacation mode. Try to find the essential link to a contract negotiation, a business deal, a medical question, and you are put into ‘summer limbo’ simply because that link is out of touch, out of phone range, not able to connect to email or just plain not interacting with the workday world for whatever time is allotted them to rest and refresh. You, meanwhile, are hard at work, trying to darn whatever hole has been left in the fabric of your business dealings.
Our salute to the summer leftovers, the skeleton staff, the stay-behind men and women who hold the world together whilst others gambol in the surf, loll on riverbanks and sip margaritas on cottage decks. You will be the ones laughing when you show off your glowing tans to your pasty-faced colleagues come January.
And for those of you who seem never to be able to take a holiday, winter, spring, summer or fall, you business builders, earnest entrepreneurs, tireless negotiators, please heed my words. YOU NEED TO TAKE A BREAK. You will be better for it, have more energy, be more creative, have more patience. Taking time away gives you perspective on both threats and opportunities and a greater capacity to handle the uncertainties and ambiguities that characterize entrepreneurial activity. Even if all you can manage is a ‘stay-cation’, taking a break from the field of battle for a few restful days will do more for you, and for your business, than you can imagine.