I really don’t understand America.  How have we become so focused on work that we neglect to take full advantage of our vacation days?  Are we too afraid to take them for fear of management or work load? On one hand I am very proud of this country for having such hard working people but on the other I really worry that we have lost focus of what is truly meaningful for life satisfaction.

After recently visiting Spain for 10 days, I can tell you that one of the main reasons America is not in a serious depression right now is because we have a really strong work force – no three hour siestas for us.  While that is something to be very proud of I also noted that the people in Spain, even though they are economically handicapped at the moment, seem to be much more content with life than those here.

They enjoy the little things in life, like family and each other’s company.  They tell jokes at every meal, everyone laughs a great deal and eats fantastic food.  They have not forgotten that two of the best things in life are free – family and friends.  On the contrary, I see a very serious populous here, one very focused on their 9-5 routine.

I don’t expect this culture to change overnight but I think that if we all took  time away from work to decompress it would do us all a big favor.  Luckily, my phone does not work in Europe.  At first that was frustrating but about three days in I noticed how phenomenal it was to be unplugged.  My brain started to calm down, I was able to think of much bigger picture strategies rather than focusing on task related items or waiting for my e-mail notification to ding.

After being away for a week and a half I have come back reinvigorated, ready to take on larger projects and grow our company by leaps and bounds.  I truly love what we do again.  I am not sure how long this will last but if I get the feeling that my sentiment towards work is changing than I will make sure to take another long vacation as soon as possible.

As a company, Cardinal Digital Marketing has always promoted taking time to travel to its employees.  I really feel like it is critical to staff satisfaction, especially in the agency world.  It is far too easy to get burnt out from client and management demands.  As a promise to our company, I am going to make sure we do a better job of further promoting vacation days, hell we may even force our staff to take time off – even if they have a bit of a stay-cation.

After all, we do not remember the days-  we remember the moments , and the moments typically happen away from the office.