Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Plentiful Holidays and Painful Reentry

You have to love Italy for its long and many holidays. There's virtually one a month. Some short. Others longer. We just finished over two weeks of holidays for many people, including students, some factories and for thousands of workers. It started on Christmas Eve, December 24th, and usually lasts until the Epiphany, January 6th. But this year since that day fell on a Thursday, we got either another ponte (long weekend) or another 3 days off, bringing us to Monday, January 10th as the official back-to-work date. That was yesterday. And oh how awful it was. Dreary and endless rain in the Veneto. Everyone sending urgent emails and making phone calls at once to get the ball rolling again.

It's fabulous to have so much time off. You can really remove yourself from your work to focus on other things like the people you love, hobbies, sports and travelling. A long sustained time away from work cleans the mind and boosts the spirit.

But then you risk forgetting how to work. You come back groggy and bump your way through your activities. You have forgotten some of the details of what's next to do in that list of your daily, weekly and monthly tasks.

Even though yesterday was hard, getting back into my job's rhythm, my clients said I looked rested. I had a rosier skin color. It probably came from all that sleep I had gotten! Then the outdoors always helps, I think. (I was snowshoeing all of last week.)

Alas, it's time to make money again. You gotta have it. At least some. It makes the world go 'round these days. For me, the final frontier is getting paid vacation. It is something I don't get to take advantage of as a freelancer. Maybe one day that will happen.

Unfortunately this year, 2011, will bring us less vacation than ever, according to Italian standards. Most of the holidays fall on the weekend: Labor Day is on a Saturday. Christmas is on Sunday. New Year's Eve will be on a Saturday and the day to recoup will be Sunday! Ugh!

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