Leave me alone, please!

January 30th, 2012

When last month a travel portal in a survey found out that Indians are among the most vacation-deprived, I was least surprised.

Going on a holiday or seeking leave from your boss, for that matter, is always an event.

Firstly, you wonder what will the boss say.

Secondly, if by the boss’s grace, your leave has been accepted, under no circumstances will you get out of his cabin sans the guilt pangs about going on leave when the entire world is working hard.

No wonder the survey says that over 28 per cent of Indians do not make use of leaves allocated to them due to their bosses.

Despite all this, I take leave. But yes, when I put in an application for the same, I prepare myself for a few words of wisdom from my seniors.

Some always tell me that when they were my age, they worked round the clock and terms such as vacations or compensatory offs didn’t exist in their dictionaries… that at this young age, I should be in office early and leave late… that how journalists actually work the least in the media industry… and that…

But, ahem… may I still have the privilege of taking a few days off? Please.

My friends who love to listen to their bosses, have an even more interesting experience to share.

One of them, when recently visiting Mumbai from Bangalore, brought her laptop along.

Her organisation, she said, was creating a new vertical and she, along with her boss, had been made in-charge. Her boss had asked her to manage the nitty-gritties in flat seven days, the days she was off for.

In her boss’s words, “Considering your record has so far been fantastic, please do not spoil it by taking long leave.”

In those seven days, she did not step out of the house to either meet her friends or even see what has changed (or not changed) in Mumbai.

So when the survey adds that 53 per cent Indians regularly checked work-related emails on vacation, you can understand why. On the other hand, 41 per cent of Americans never checked work-related mails while on a holiday.

I think for us to enjoy our allocated leaves, we  will have to behave like the Europeans, treat vacations as an entitlement and not as a luxury (that one begins to feel guilty about).

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