Do you plan on foregoing your vacation this year out of fear or being overwhelmed with work? If so, you’re not alone, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.


Nearly three in ten IT workers say they haven’t gone on or aren’t planning on taking a vacation in 2009; 16 percent indicate it is because they just can’t afford it; 11 percent are either afraid of losing their jobs or they feel quilty about being away from the office.

That’s the data from CareerBuilder‘s annual vacation survey. And of those who are actually taking a vacation, there seems to be some confusion as to what the word actually means:

Seven in ten IT employers say they expect employees to check in with the office while they are away, with 50 percent indicating it’ll be necessary only if they are working on a big project or there’s a big issue going on with the company. More than half (54 percent) of IT workers say that during their vacations they plan to contact the office once or more, regardless of what they are working on.

I completely understand the fear of taking a vacation. It’s a scary economy with so many unknowns that it’s hard to relax away from the office. And with fewer people tasked with doing more, it’s also a huge hill to climb just to get to a point where you can take a few days off.

Eric Presley, Chief Technology Officer at CareerBuilder, makes the following suggestions for ensuring your vacation really is a vacation:

  • Start Preparing the Office Today – The minute you start thinking about booking a vacation, talk to your supervisor and see if the dates you want to be away are a good time for both of you.
  • Leave a Plan Behind – A few weeks before you leave, start recording important information, key contacts, and any deadlines that will come up while you are gone and give it to a coworker who can fill in for you while you are gone.
  • Stick to a Schedule – While it’s best to leave the office at the office, if you must do work, set limits and boundaries for yourself and your co-workers. Don’t let activities on vacation be interrupted by work.
  • Set a Good Example – If you are the boss, take a vacation and limit your contact with the office. Workers will feel much better getting away and enjoying themselves if they see the boss doing the same.

And I offer one of my own: Try not to get sunscreen on your laptop.