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Taking Time Off

Taking time off

In the past, I’ve had a hard time taking time off. I would book holidays, or time off, but I would end up working during those days to do some urgent things or sort through emails.

An additional challenge for me is that, since I work in two countries, there will always be demands and expectations from one country while the other has an official holiday (and there is indeed, besides Christmas and Easter, not so much overlap in holidays between both countries). I used to just not follow any official holiday and just take meetings anyway.

Having my daughter, and depending on the availability of childcare, has only partially solved this – I could technically always find somebody to see her on a day that is an official holiday here to do work for my position in the Netherlands.

But I am working on setting better boundaries, and observing official holidays has become a key aspect of this approach. Not only do I try to take that time off, I also try to actively plan a trip outside the city: sometimes an overnight stay (although traveling during official holidays in Ecuador is not always a good idea because the traffic gets crazy), or by planning a hike or a get-together with friends or family.

I still have a tendency to overwork, and I have many more weeks with more than 50 hours of work logged than that I have weeks with less than 40 hours – but I try to remind myself that it is just a job, that at the end of the day, I am an employee, and that life is much more than that. Both of my parents did not get to enjoy many years after retirement, and certainly not healthy years, so I need to remind myself frequently that life should be lived, now – and not at some distant point in the future.

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