Category Archives: In the beginning

I Want to Get Away

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking. – Earl Wilson

Fond Remembrances of a Busy Signal

Customer Service is King. There is nothing in business that can beat exceeding our customer’s expectations. Being the first, best, most thorough and dependable resource for our clients makes us indispensable. That is, when we do our job correctly, our customers cannot do business without us.

Putting this kind of customer care into practice means that people will recognize our efforts and attitude and they will appreciate it when we put them and their needs first. Everyone likes to feel like a priority and part of what is required for offering excellent customer service is making every customer feel important. The truth is, there are no unimportant customers, because without customers we have no reason to be in business!

If there is a downside to going the extra mile it would be that in today’s fast paced world it has become difficult to take time off and to get away for a while. It has been said by researchers who study stress in the workplace that vacations used to be a luxury but today they are becoming a physical and emotional necessity. This is not really anything new. Even from the earliest days of the existence of mankind it has been understood that we need a day off, at least one in every seven. A day of rest.

Trouble is, with the way we live today our weekend, our day(s) of rest, are not really restful. We work long and hard during the week and look forward to the weekend only to have more to do that we could not take care of during the week. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Well, it is! We are wearing ourselves out working hard and even playing hard and we are busy all the time. And we rarely ever actually take time off to rest. We are always going or doing or working or planning, but not really resting.

Taking a vacation, even if it is just for a day to get away, takes planning and prioritizing. We want our customers to be taken care of in our absence. We know that while we are away there are things we could be doing if we were at the office. Of course, thanks to technology, no one knows when we are in or out of the office. Mobile phones mean that we can be reached anywhere at any time so long as there is a cellular signal. If they can hear us say, “Can you hear me now?” then we can do business!

However, for all the time saving devices, for all the convenience gadgets, for all that technology has done to make us ever reachable – we are finding it more and more difficult to get away, to rest, to take a vacation. We fail to understand at times that being indispensible does not mean that we cannot get away from time to time. In fact, if we do not rest, we will not be able to consistently offer the best customer service.

Used to, when a person was on the phone, if someone else tried to call they got a busy signal. It meant simply that someone was already engaged in conversation and was busy. All we could do was to call back later. Now thanks to call waiting, caller ID, voice mail, email, and texting we can be interrupted no matter how busy we are. A day off is not really a day off unless we turn the phone off or leave it at home – something which is almost unthinkable for most of us. Why would we want to be unreachable?

Because sometimes we just need to get away. We need to rest, relax, and recuperate. We need a change of pace. Our mind and body needs rest. If we run all the time without taking a day to rest we see stress levels rise, emotions fray, tempers flare, and the more busy we become the more difficult it is to slow down and relax. We need a busy signal. We need our rest.

As a historical example, during the days of the French Revolution it was decided that the old traditions and norms needed to be overthrown along with the ruling class. One such modification was a rejection of the seven day week. While religious tradition had dictated for thousands of years a seven day week, six work days followed by one day of rest, the Sabbath laws were stricken from the books and the work week was lengthened. For twelve years from 1793 to 1805 the French Republic operated on this new decimal system. Each month consisted of three weeks of ten days each. Workers were given one day off in every ten.

Lengthening the work week was supposed to increase output and productivity. However, while this system of time keeping was abandoned for a variety of reasons, one major component of reverting back to the old seven day work week was that working nine days with one day off led to less productivity, more stress, exhaustion, and it was reported that even horses and other work animals were falling dead in the streets from exhaustion. People were not far behind. Seems there is some design (and benefit) behind the seven day work week after all.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And while we sometimes come across those who would rather play all day than work, we do not need more play time. We need to take a break. We need to get away. Rest – it does the body good.

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