With a labor day weekend upon us, there’s no better time to talk about vacation. In advertising, there’s a stigma against taking vacation time, especially in the creative department. We compete to see who can stay at the office longer. We’ll skip lunch, work weekends, pull all-nighters and never take a single vacation day.
When you’re surrounded by workaholics, it’s hard not to feel guilty about taking vacation time. But, you shouldn’t. Creatives need vacations. It helps us recharge so we think better, more creatively.
In the book Perfect Pitch, author Jon Steel, talks about the importance of vacations. He recounts the story of his first day as Director of Strategic Planning at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a large San Francisco agency. On that day, Steel met with GSP’s human resource department and preceded to change his department’s vacation policy. When Steel was done, everyone had unlimited vacation days.
If you’re thinking there has to be a catch, there is. Under Steel’s policy, if you wanted to take a vacation, you had to do something interesting during that vacation. Unlike most people in advertising, Steel understood that you’re more creative if you get out and experience life. Sitting in a cramped office, staring at a computer screen does nothing for creativity, except kill it.
By offering unlimited vacation, Steel sent a very clear message to his department – it’s ok to take a vacation, to get out of the office, turn off the blackberry and stop thinking about advertising. The agency won’t crumble, the world won’t come to an end. Everything will be there when you get back. You’ll just be a little fresher, a little sharper and a lot more creative.
Enjoy your three day weekend. Go do something interesting.