Returning from Vacation? Some Great Advice for Everyday from Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk offers this advice on getting back to work after returning from a vacation: instead of diving straight into work, take some time to catch up with your associates.  This gives people the chance to talk to you about the things they may have had on their mind but didn’t want to bother you with right away.  Take time everyday, not just when you return from vacation, to get away from your desk and to give yourself the space you need to reflect.Imagine my surprise when I picked up a copy on My Midwest Magazine, the in-flight monthly of Midwest Airlines, to find an article titled Smooth Landing quoting the Brazen Careerist Penelope Trunk.

Why was I taken aback? I’m a Penelope Trunk reader, after all. I shouldn’t have been caught unaware, as she’s featured in many publications and sites. What struck me was the topic: Getting back to work after your vacation is over.

Penelope offered this advice:

  • Instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and escaping into your own world of projects, tasks, and pulling your head above water, take the time to catch up with your associates. “Talk about your vacation and ask people how they are doing and what’s been going on. This gives your colleagues a chance to discuss things they may have wanted to talk with you about, but didn’t feel comfortable hitting you with your first day back.” Trunk suggests taking a walk around the office to acquaint and re-acclimate yourself to your environment and your colleagues.
  • Vacations not only give you a much-needed reprieve from the commotion and pressures of work, they also offer an occasion to mindfully remove yourself and re-determine and re-emphasize what means the most to you in your life. “Vacations give you thinking space, but that doesn’t help you if you go back to your desk and do exactly the same thing,”

To my way of thinking, this is great advice for every day. Why not make use of these suggestions during your work day, even every day?

During the day, get up and run out for a coffee or go for a walk down the block. Take your lunch and go out somewhere, anywhere – don’t sit in front of your computer and gobble your chow so that you can get back to all the things you need to accomplish. Take 10 or 15 minutes and read or listen to an audio book or podcast.

These things will allow you to create that “thinking space” you need and to reflect upon what matters the most to you.