Surprise Vacation

A passing comment with my boss turned into a profound revelation that I didn’t know about. Since I didn’t take my big trip around North America this year, I never used my vacation time for bits and pieces of that trip. Unbeknownst to me, the company I work for doesn’t allow you to carry ANY vacation time from one year to the next. Every other company I’ve ever worked for has. One tried to change their policy to allow no carryover, but so many employees revolted that they changed the policy back. So suddenly I had a lot of vacation time and not enough time to use it all before I lost it.

I half-jokingly asked my boss, “So can I take the rest of the year off?” She did some work with her higher-ups, and we came to an arrangement where YES, I can take the rest of the year off, as long as I finished one of my current tasks first so it wouldn’t hold other people up while I’m out. So with no planning or warning whatsoever, I suddenly have a two-week vacation.

It began with laundry and errands, true excitement for any vacation. I had to get these done anyway, and it’s not like I planned this. I’d already planned to take today off for my birthday, and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it. I’ll probably spend time with friends in camp (I’m making more and more new ones as this place keeps filling up) and go for a bike ride. There’s talk of Marilyn baking a cake at some point as well, though I’m not sure when that falls into the plans.

On a whim, I dropped my Los Angeles friend Carolyn a line and asked whether a spur-of-the-moment visit next week would work for her. Not only did she say yes, but she also has the week off! I suppose that’s not surprising, since she works for a college. I still can’t bring both bikes with me, but multiple neighbors in camp told me I could leave one bike here with them. So I’ll leave the KLR, and load up the V-Strom to do some serious riding in the area. I can’t wait to try Angeles Crest on the V-Strom!

I see how this misunderstanding with work happened. The fire happened two days after I started the job. I immediately took all my time off for the year, and slowly dug myself out of that hole for the rest of the year to get back up to zero by the end. Carrying any time over wasn’t even a possibility, so it never came up. At this point, I’ve been with the company for nearly two years, so of course, I already know about these basic policies, right? Nope. Back when I started, we had no HR person, or employee handbook outlining these. The CEO did my onboarding personally. We’ve grown a lot since then and have an HR person who takes care of all this now. But it’s amazing how even now, almost two years later, the fire is still having some ripple effects on my life.

If I’d known, I would’ve planned to take time off for adventures during the year. I still had adventures, because my schedule is so flexible, so I don’t feel like I missed out much. Next year I’ll definitely make plans to use it rather than lose it — ironically, on the same plans I’d intended to use it for this year, but didn’t.

Right now, I’ll just enjoy some extra relaxation, and not having to think about the day job at all. I still have a couple of articles to write for ADVRider, so I won’t be completely idle. I’ll also put some brainpower into some personal projects that work always takes priority over. More on those once I have a clue.

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