February 25, 2008

Get your quote on, Elbert

I don't know exactly why this idea appealed to me so much today when I came up with it earlier today, but it did.

A little explanation: I have an iGoogle page with couple of different tabs and a bunch of various gadgets and widgets, mostly to amuse myself during the day when I don't have time to surf the Web but need a bit of a break. One of the gadgets is "Quotes of the Day" that, not surprisingly, has new quotes each day.

The quote that caught my eye today was: "No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one." - Elbert Hubbard

It got my attention primarily because I usually feel that way after a vacation, never more so than after getting back from Australia. What kept my attention was actually clicking on The Quotations Page for Elbert Hubbard. I'd never heard of Mr. Hubbard before (though I had heard of his most well-known essay, "A Message to Garcia") and I was surprised to see that he died in 1915 because many of the 17 quotes they have for him seem so current and relevant.

All that leads us to *drum roll, please* Elbert Hubbard Quote Week here at OPO. I'm going to pick one of the quotes each day this week, throw it up against the wall and see what sticks.

I'd be interested to know if you feel that same way after a real vacation, where it almost, almost doesn't seem worth having had the time off, when you know what's waiting for you upon your return.

I think in the era of e-mail it's even worse. It's not like people called and left a couple voicemails, or talked to your assistant or co-worker and found out you weren't there and will call back sometime once you're back, or there's a stack of envelopes on your desk, half of which you can pitch out without a second thought. No, I think many of know that there are going to be 100+ emails waiting for us in our inbox, and every one of those people wanted to hear from you yesterday. And a least a dozen will have the ! next to it saying "Pick me, pick me, pick me first, I'm important!" I spend at least an entire day dealing with email after being gone from work for a week or longer. That doesn't even take into consideration all the work I had to do before leaving just to get ready to be gone because everything is nownownownow-I need it now-this is urgent and there's just no one else to do two-thirds of it in my absence.

I know some companies have instituted "E-mail-free Fridays" and I think there's some merit to it. However, even more than that, I'd like to see e-mail amnesty. Where we cut people a break after getting that ubiquitous "Out Of Office" auto-reply that says they're out for some longer period of time. Where we don't expect them to answer your e-mail the moment they get back to their desk...you and the other few dozen people who are clamoring for attention. Let the poor soul ease back into the hectic workaday world so that vacation actually meant something!

Nah. Never gonna happen. Next quote?