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After 182 days of nonstop grinding, I took a vacation in Europe.

I first went to Davos and then Paris. 

With countless nights spent working, my excitement was at its peak as I boarded the aircraft in the Delhi winter. 

I did a diligent knowledge transfer so nothing breaks in my 1 week of vacation. 

Day 3- I receive midnight calls from two colleagues. 

I see 2 missed calls and 11 text messages on WhatsApp in the morning. I had informed them of the time difference. They knew it was my midnight!

Day 4- I receive another text from my manager. He requests to get on a call. He needed some extra information about a client I had worked on earlier. 

Day 4 evening- I spend 2 hours in front of my laptop working. 

Day 6- I get another WhatsApp from my peers and managers asking me to enjoy my vacation but they need my help urgently as and when I back. 

I stop responding to texts and calls from them. 

As I onboard the return flight, I opt for complete silence from my side to shut myself off work for one last time. 

Upon my return, the data sent by me was not used at all and I realize from my 2 hours of work wasn't also urgent at all. 

I realized I cannot work in that firm anymore and fixated an end date for myself there. 

In the hindsight, I am mad at myself that I decided to ruin my vacation, didn't stand up for my well-being enough, and drew clear boundaries in the initial days. 

After this firm, I joined another firm. 

They offered me a similar role, a notch higher level just in a different industry. 

This time I stood up better for my well-being, off timings, and set no weekend calls culture. 

In this firm, I again took 10 days off. 

I was not reached out to by a single colleague during that time, just with an exception of a colleague who checked up on me if I was enjoying my time in Europe😃. 

Last week, one of my employees at GGI requested time off. 

Not only did I not reach him, but also ensured no other of my employees reach him for anything. 

Work can always wait. 

But nothing is worth someone's health!


Employees have a life. 

They also need "me" time. 

They are not machines. 

Don't treat them like one. 

If you aren't doing all of the above, you are incompetent to be a people leader.

If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.

Author- Shatakshi Sharma, Co-founder Global Governance Initiative & GTI, Ex- BCG, Advisor; Tony Blair Institute

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