A lot of you are on the last bits of your vacation this week. That is awesome. There is likely no better time you can take vacation. Your team has hopefully shipped all deliverables for 2014 Q4. You have likely planned out Q1. You almost certainly have no real bugs in production. Cthulhu willing, you have automatic regression and integration tests so that you can rest assured knowing that The Person Who Does Not Vacation can safely fix anything that does come up. You’re in really good shape. This is an insanely good time to unplug your computer, toss it out the window, and then pour yourself more eggnog and rum as you realize that your employer owns that laptop and doesn’t have it insured against metaphoric defenestration. Point is, this is a good time to vacation.
Which is why I am disappointed that most of you on vacation apparently do not know how to vacation.
I have therefore written a helpful guide.
How to Vacation
- DO spend time face-to-face with your family. If you are unsure how to do this, pretend you are texting with them via Siri, but omit the “Hey Siri, text X that…” part. Note that this only works over local-area network and does not generally work well through doors.
- DO NOT check work email. Your employer has everyone’s cell phone. If it’s seriously that important, don’t call them, they’ll call you. I promise.
- DO go sledding if you are in a snowy region, because it’s awesome to be an adult and act like a kid, and besides, it’s been way too long since you broke your arm and the story started with “okay so there was this awesome hill and all I had was a cafeteria tray…”
- DO NOT do code reviews. There is not one single year-end feature blocked by code reviews. You are procrastinating from relaxing by doing work. Think about that. How insane is that? I mean seriously, right?
- DO go swimming if you are in a swimming region. Santa may be drowning right now, what with all that velvet coat situation and stuff. Only you can save him. And if you can’t find him, hey, your skin won’t tan itself. Pass a mimosa.
- DO NOT fix bugs in your product. Chances are ludicrously high you are at what Mozilla lovingly calls zarro boogs: there are obviously bugs, but you know them and they all have workarounds. This is an excellent place to be. You want to stay to here.
- DO do things you don’t normally have time for. Start the push up challenge. Reread Harry Potter (again (again)). Write a spec for Mean Girls 3: Clique Ahoy. Play Candy Land with your kids/nieces/nephews “because they insist,” even though you’re the one who braved an Indiana-Jones–esque level of spider webs to dig it out of the moldy chest in the basement. Get that space station built in Kerbal just in time to realize you ran out of money to get kerbals to the space station. The sky and/or your checkbook is/are the limit.
- DO NOT write new features. You see how you’re at zarro boogs? Do you want actual bugs? Because that’s how you get actual bugs.
That said, some of you, including me, like to code to relax. That’s cool. But do something not related to your day job to get your head out of the space. Learn Kotlin or OCaml. Write a plugin to Slack for MegaHAL. Rewrite your blog in Pharo. Play with OvertureJS from FastMail. Spend four hours customizing Vim or Emacs and don’t feel bad about procrastinating. Do something that is as far away from work as possible.
Use your vacation to take an actual vacation. You’re going to have an intense start to Q1. You’re in software; I know. Everyone wants you relaxed and refreshed and excited.
Please vacation. Vacation like there’s no tomorrow.