On the Aeroflot flight to Moscow, somebody stole my Blackberry and my son's Nintendo DS. For my son, this was a major life tragedy; for me, a massive inconvenience. It wasn't a great way to start a vacation.
Although I don't obsess about work during vacations, I like being able to delete unimportant messages and forward anything urgent to other people. It makes the transition back to work easier. I can be sure no surprises will be waiting for me and that inbox clutter will be manageable. Not having the Blackberry meant I'd be worrying about work for the entire vacation.
I was wrong. I hardly thought about work at all. The issues I had been stressing about became as distant as memories of high school (I didn't become a stud until I was 30). Only the day before I flew back to Mongolia did I start to think about work-related issues, but even then, it was difficult, like trying to remember something important when you're completely wasted.
Everyone told me I was lucky to get a such a complete break from the office. But instead, I was alarmed. Not by the sea of unread emails waiting for me, but by the fact that I was able to stop thinking about work. If you love your job, for real, how could you stop thinking about it?
When I got back, I had nearly 1,000 unread messages. There were a few unpleasant surprises, and it took me longer than usual to get back into the job. Pretty much as I expected. What I didn't expect is that every evening, and every weekend, the switch goes off again.
I'll have to think about this.