Sometimes there is nothing easy about planning a vacation Opinion

After back and forth scheduling discussions with the boss about the best week for a vacation, a co-worker suddenly informs you that he (or she) is taking the same week off from work as well.

In a large corporate setting that normally wouldn’t be a problem.

Of course, I work for a small community newspaper where everyone wears multiple hats.

I wear a lot of hats, and do a lot of different things. In fact, I hate it when people ask me “what do you do” at work? Years ago the answer to that question was simple. And wrote news articles. Lots and lots of news articles.

I still write things everyday for the newspaper, although my byline (or name) is not always associated with those writings. Sometimes it is simply a matter of quickly, but accurately, writing a breaking news story for our website, which is then sent to Facebook and Twitter. If the story is big enough, a breaking news banner will be selected and I will also send out text and email news alerts.

The big story in question will then be fleshed out with more details and information for the final print version of the newspaper, sometimes by myself or sometimes by another staff member.

While digital has been a part of my focus in recent months, I’m also paginating (designing) the paper again on certain days. I’ve paginated in the past, but never entire editions before. So this is still a little new to me, particularly the sports page.

So when you wear a lot of different hats in a smaller newsroom setting, a vacation often requires creative scheduling.

So when the other Charles in the newsroom — Charlie as we call him — informed me he was planning to take the same week off, the first step in the negotiation process was to see whether Charlie was flexible, or if he had something specific planned for the week in question. Thankfully, he was flexible.

Everyone eventually needs a vacation.

Sometimes you just know it’s time to step back, and to take a few days off from work.

In my particular case, I was tired, and also had a ton of things I needed to do that couldn’t be done during the course of a normal work week.

Also, the last time I had a week off from work, I also had COVID.

And I coughed. And coughed. And coughed. I couldn’t even talk from coughing so much. So it wasn’t the greatest of vacations.

So yes, I was looking forward to having a week off from work without COVID.

Being able to talk — without constantly coughing — during a week off from work was an added bonus.

Charlie was sympathetic to my cause, and agreed to take the following week off. That way the newsroom wouldn’t be understaffed with Charles and Charles off on the same week.

Of course, when you wait that long to take a week off from work, you normally end up with a working vacation. That was what I had, as there was much work to be done during those precious few days away from the office.

More walls to shiplap, a flea market to plan for, grass to cut, a community celebration to attend, this column to write and groceries to buy. Along the way, I also got a good deal on another flat screen television and purchased a new, battery-operated electric lawnmower, which works surprisingly well.

But no, if you are wondering, I won’t be buying an electric vehicle anytime soon. A battery-operated lawnmower is OK. But not a vehicle that runs on electricity. I can’t see that.

By the time you read this particular column, my long-delayed, COVID-free vacation will be long over. Now I’m in need of another vacation.

Honestly, I spent more time working at home — trying to do all of those things that needed to be done — than relaxing. I guess that’s why they call it a working vacation.

Now I need another week off from work to get all of the other stuff that I didn’t get around to doing finished. A day or two of relaxation would also be nice. Maybe in another three to four months? But for now there is a lot of office work to be done.

As is normally the case, when you take a week off from work, you get behind on all the things that need to be done at work as well. Let’s start by deleting several hundred junk emails from my email file.

Apparently everyone decided to email me during the week I was off from work.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at


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