Take leave...and get outta here!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Chris Atteberry
  • 25th Flying Training Squadron commander
One of the toughest things about a writing assignment is thinking up a good topic. After sifting through a number of possibilities, I realized that I have summer on my mind and I don't want to talk about work at all. Instead, let's discuss vacation! I'll be honest; I've been pondering my own summer leave for weeks.

Taking leave is the ultimate solution for the daily routine. I'm being a little melodramatic here. My daily routine isn't bland at all; every day is different and challenging in its own way. But over time, the pace wears me down and my mind turns to travel. Vacation is great, and much of the fun lies in just figuring out what you want to do with your time off. You might choose to go somewhere new, or maybe the perfect break is right at your own home.

Everyone working at Vance gets paid vacation of some sort. As hard as we work around here, it's crucial to spend time away from the workplace. I encourage you to take time off for your healthy state of mind. When you return from leave, you'll be refreshed and ready to attack your job with renewed energy. I know some of us find it difficult to set aside time for leave because of ever-present responsibilities. To counter this complication, I plan my vacation well in advance, giving myself the opportunity to put squadron affairs in order, extinguish major brushfires and spin-up my second-in-command to cope with issues that might arise in my absence.

Speaking of planning in advance, the commander in me encourages you to think ahead about vacation time, but not to wait too long to finalize your plans. All military members should know that the end of the fiscal year is fast approaching, and anybody with use-or-lose balances must take their excess leave prior to October 1. If you wait until the last month, you may still lose your vacation even though you think you're ahead of the deadline. A commander can't let everyone take vacation at once, so if the majority of people wait until September to request leave, many are going to be disappointed.

This same discussion applies to government civilians. Your use-or-lose deadline falls at the end of the last December pay period, so plan forward and don't put off your vacation either. Computer Sciences Corporation members enjoy a different dynamic, with no actual use-or-lose threat. Nevertheless, if you never take the vacation and let it pile up, you're still "losing" in the sense that you aren't taking full advantage of the benefits your company offers. Plus, nobody wants to be around a bunch of tired, grumpy contractors! Please take your vacation too.

As I mentioned earlier, I can't wait for my vacation next month! We'll be traveling to a part of the country we haven't seen before, visiting extraordinary national parks, enjoying the outdoors, and dodging moose and grizzly bears. Yet even as my summer trip approaches, I'm already thinking ahead to my next vacation in the fall. It's never too early to daydream.