I've been working since I was 13. Since my parents are also entrepreneurs, they put me to work on the first day of summer vacation after I finished 7th grade. I still remember where I was when my mom picked me up from school. drove me to 12 Oaks Mall, and told me in the parking lot that I would start working in their office as an administrative assistant (she said, 'secretary') the next day. I was completely appalled. Summer was OVER and it hadn't even started yet.
I started working, and though it wasn't my dream job, it was an important starting point for me. Because I didn't like the work I was doing, I applied for other jobs and learned from those. I worked those jobs, went to school, and still worked for my parents. When I graduated from high school, I notified my parents that I was quitting, wrote my letter of resignation, and went off to culinary school.
I started working in the industry, and going to school full-time. A morbid combination of ambitious and conscientious, I never took time off, never went on a vacation, and plowed through, thinking, "I'll take a trip when I'm done with school...." I graduated from culinary school - and postponed my vacation again, "I'll take a vacation when I finish under-grad...".
I finished under-grad in the spring of 2002. 2 more years went by before I hit the wall and, on a whim, planned a trip to Vancouver and Alaska. I have very fond memories of that trip, even though I traveled with nearly a perfect stranger - someone I knew very casually, and then never kept in touch with after we came home.
Back to work, nose to the grindstone. I began the next phase of my career and never looked up. 7 years later, I quit my job to start my companies, and have a wonderful man to share everything with. He's all about working hard, but he understands that fun, relaxation, enjoying life, are important compliments to hard work.
Tomorrow, we are going on a mini-vacation, and I can't believe how much I am looking forward to it. It's not a major trip like Alaska, but it's major to me right now - since it's been almost a decade since I've taken the time to relax and enjoy my life, instead of obsessing about my career, and worried that there will be a punishing workload and email inbox awaiting me when I return.
All of that being said, this recovering workaholic will be taking my laptop with me, checking email, responding to clients and writing blogs, BUT, it sure beats the type of work that kept me tied to a building with clients coming in and out of its doors, and employees who needed a lot of direction.
For those of you who shop the Plymouth Farmers' Market for your weekly granola fix - I'm sorry to inform you that you'll have to jones for another week, as I do not have someone to work the market for me on Saturday. I will miss seeing all of my regulars, but promise to return fresh-faced, relaxed and excited to see you next week.
Take some time for yourself, wherever you can find it. Vacation, stay-cation, or some other type of adventure...don't wait! The summer, and more importantly, life, is too short!
Stacy Sloan; Chef & Founder of Three Little Birds