The axiom “Time flies when you’re having fun” must have certainly been coined by a vacationing person. Although it sounds corny, it definitely is true. Our wonderful vacation to Alaska is over, and the two weeks we were gone just blew by.
Now it’s payback time. You know what I mean. People know and fear the “payback”. Everyone that you work with has had to pick up the slack while you were away, and now it’s time for them to extract the proverbial pound of flesh. While they wished you a good vacation when you left, you know that deep down, they were wishing that they were going, and you weren’t. Now you’ve returned, and secretly your fellow employees are waiting to dish out your punishment for having time off.
There are, in my opinion, two types of “payback”. I call the first type the “You’ll regret you ever left”, payback scenario. This is the one that takes place the moment you walk in the office door. Immediately you are assailed with a mob of people all talking at once. No, dear friend, they are not interested in how much fun you had. No! No! No! Each one of them needs to know something, where files are, what you did with the Jones account, and how to dig out of some horrible mess they’ve created while you were gone.
Naturally, today is the last day that a particular order, or quote had to be sent out, and since no one had a clue how to do it, it’s all up to you. All you need are the flashbulbs from the Paparazzi and your day would be complete. Your office looks like it has been ransacked, papers threaten to topple any moment from the “in” basket, and yet the “out” basket is frighteningly empty. It’s like you’ve never left, but your rational brain keeps telling you that, yes, indeed you did. You have those costly souvenirs to prove it. That holiday is just a faded memory. Suddenly you remember why you needed that vacation in the first place, but all that seems a million miles away now. Your back.
Then there is scenario number two, which I refer to as the “Oh… were you gone? I Didn’t Notice?” Payback plot. This is how I perceive it. You’ll recognize this one the moment you return, because no one meets you or speaks to you when you arrive. While you were on vacation, you’ve somehow turned into the invisible employee, and now it’s as if you never existed. No one asks about your trip, they just go about their business as if you were never away.
Your desk is spotless, papers are noticeably absent, everything is clean as a whistle, there’s not even a bit of dust on the computer. You start to have misgivings. “Maybe they’ll think that I’m really just taking up space, and aren’t necessary”. The unemployment line rears its ugly head. Now comes the worst part. For the next eight hours, you have to look busy. You’ll have to come up with some kind of plan to prove that you are invaluable to the company. Paranoia sets in, and those wonderful holiday memories are wiped out of your skull while you replace them with your job security issue. You have landed in purgatory, and will be doing penance until someone else takes a day off.
That’s just how “Payback” works. We all know it’s coming, but we are willing to take it, because one day we will be leaving and not coming back. Until that retirement day comes, we’ll just have to look forward to the next vacation, and its cousin “payback”. Right now it sucks to be us.
Author Val Enders resides in Spruce Grove, Alberta. She married her high school sweetheart, Richard, and they’ve been together for over 40 years. Val doesn’t consider herself a writer by profession, rather she writes more for her own enjoyment. An accomplished artist, Val’s a member of the Allied Arts Council of Spruce Grove. Visit Val’s “Journey Into Art” website at www.vals.webs.com