Last Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK. The Tuesday was a “Privilege Day” – a day off for Civil Servants for the Queen’s birthday. Thursday was my wife’s birthday – which I had booked off ages ago. So I decided to cash in my TOIL and take Wednesday and Friday as holidays as well.
Including weekends, that made for nine days off in the glorious British sunshine. Stuck at home, sure, but nine days where I didn’t have to think about work.
I love my job and, if truth be told, probably get a little obsessed over it. But the constant late nights and occasional weekend working was getting to me. I know I have it a lot easier than many other people. But it doesn’t stop the sleepless nights, stress headaches, and constant worry.
The worst of it – I was believing my own hype. It’s so tempting to say “I’m the only one keeping this ship afloat!” or “They wouldn’t know what to do without me!” or “Essential is my middle name!”
It’s bullshit, of course. Almost no one is indispensable.
In my week off, I got contacted a few times. Once was for an issue I thought I’d fixed before I left, and the rest were things which could easily wait. I returned to work on Monday and… nothing was on fire. There were a couple of things which could probably have been done better had I been there. But nothing disastrous.
There were a boatload of emails to
delete unread carefully consider. Many GitHub issues to triage. And a only one grumpy Slack message. Result!
Obviously, I am just one of many people working as hard as they can to make things better. Working together, in union, is the only way to get anything done.
A huge thanks both to my manager for agreeing to the time off – and to our CEO and leadership team for constantly telling us that our mental and physical health are essential.