Taking Vacation Should Not Induce FOMO

December 18, 2012

how to avoid fear of missing out on vacation

If you have been active with social media this year you probably saw #FOMO (aka “Fear of Missing Out”) ad nauseam.

Fear of Missing Out is the feeling you get when you think other people are getting more out of life than you are. Social media can exacerbate this greatly. Ex: When we sign on to Facebook we see our friends yucking it up and having amazing lives while we feel we’re simply going through the motions.

But it gets worse. As if we weren’t already feeling bad enough about ourselves, now not only are we feeling FOMO when we’re in a rut, it’s even taking over when we go on vacation, too!

I don’t know about you, but I feel some serious guilt whenever I take a day off from work. Let me be clear — no one makes me feel bad about taking my vacation (in fact it is strongly encouraged we do), but I still do.

Why is this?

I’m always concerned that I will not be available when candidates and hiring managers need me. I’m fearful that someone else will have to step in and pick up the slack because I’m not in the office to deal with it. I’m worried that something major will happen and I will be the last to know.

So what do I do when I take time off? I try and stay connected as much as possible. Whenever I try to disconnect I get FOMO.

It doesn’t seem like I’m the only one. From conversations with my peers it’s apparent that FOMO is extremely common. We are all scared to unplug.

What does this mean for our society that we can’t allow ourselves to take a break? It feels like a warped version of Survivor where we are all seeing who can last the longest without a vacation or a sick day.

I remember the family who hosted me when I lived in Italy took a decent amount of vacation. My “host father” was a banker and I remember having a conversation with him about the typical amount of time off he received. It appeared that 30 paid vacation days was the norm. I was dumfounded that he could take that much time and not worry about it. I added that he must get very frustrated when people contacted him on his vacation to which he replied with disgust, “no one would ever call me or email me when I was on holiday. That time is sacred.”

It’s interesting that vacation isn’t viewed that way in our culture. We get anxious not checking in with the office and making sure we haven’t left a disaster behind us.

I encourage everyone taking time off during the holiday and into the New Year to let go of those negative feelings and unplug from work. It’s essential to better performance and overall health. So let your iPhone battery die, leave your laptop at home and savor your time away.



Senior Corporate Recruiter

<strong>Lindsey Gurian</strong> is the Senior Corporate Recruiter at <a href="http://www.acquia.com">Acquia</a>. She was previously a Senior Talent Specialist at Sonian, responsible for recruiting initiatives at both the firm and its portfolio companies.