Yes, it's finally that time again. After one of the worst winters and blustery springs in decades, the long-awaited Summer Vacation Season is upon us. Along with the summer solstice comes 4th of July fireworks, picnics, family trips, destination weddings and romantic treks. But before you smooth on that sunscreen, you might consider today's new job etiquette before you get burned -- and not by the blazing sun.
The New Vacation Rules
By all means, vamoose to whatever vacation you need, want, and deserve. But smart vacationers remember #FOMO (the infamous Fear of Missing Out) and make every effort to avoid stirring it up via social media. Regardless of the warmth of your business relationships, no one who is frustrated and looking to move a project forward, is going to relish discovering that Instagram photo of the project manager parasailing in Mexico. Or the obligatory bar scene. Or the underneath the waterfall somewhere in Hawaii.
Aside from the old "gee, she's having fun and I'm not" side of human nature, there's also the nasty thought that sometimes bubbles up: "Am I paying her too much? That's quite the boondoggle she can afford." Read some of the recent studies on the depression caused or exacerbated by social media, and remember that you're buddies with half of your office on Facebook, Twitter or G+.
What to Do
Too bad social media doesn't have the famous OOF -- Out of the Office -- that email does. So contact key people who don't have access to your company calendar, announce that you're going off the grid and will be officially unreachable from X to X. Details of where you're going are unnecessary -- only the unavailable dates are relevant.
Then stay off any social media that's trackable to you. Some paranoid (I think smart) people set up a new private Twitter, OGGL or Path just for family and close friends. Don't think Facebook's privacy settings are going to protect you. Or even Snapchat. If you must communicate, use text or WhatsApp.
The primary death knell to business connections is the linchpin of the powerful Visual Revolution: big, juicy, droolworthy photographs. The more visual, the more shareable. That massive pin-worthy picture of you diving in Belize or Blue Pearl Bay off Hayman Island in Australia, will draw more comments, shares and likes than text. It's far more likely to be the first thing your boss sees when she finally slogs it home after a 12-hour day, soaking wet from the drizzle or humidity, having only eaten some leftover 'Starch of the Day' from the company cafeteria.
In other words, folks, shut up. Today's social media is the blabbermouth bastard of the Kodak vacation slide show.
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