On the road? Now we can choose how OOTO we really want to be.

March 30, 2009

…unless you’ve got good news.

I have been gone three weeks. Ten days in Dubai. Ten days in St. Thomas. That is the longest time I have been away from home or office since I graduated college.

What’s interesting about that is not my itinerary, although I must say if you’re going places you could do a lot worse than Arabia and the Caribbean!
Rather, I think it’s peculiar that a man could go over 20 years without taking a 3-week holiday.

In much of the world lengthy vacations are normal (paid ones at that) even for the trades. Not so in America. Here we parse our annual allotment of two or three weeks like they were crumbs on a lifeboat: Three days here. A week there. A couple long weekends. And then it’s back to the office!

The other thing one notices on holiday is how connected you can remain with home or office, should you so choose to. Emails still arrive. Files and PDFs. Meeting Makers. It’s all there, should you so choose it.

Yet, remaining “in” or “out” is no longer the only option. With all the various forms of “ambient intimacy” now available (home and office email, Facebook, Twitter, etc), one can select a level of closeness.

What this means is I can stay in touch and also be disengaged. Therefore, while away, I perused my office like it was a buffet, picking an email here, and a meeting there. Skipping what bored me. I could come to my desktop at night or hourly. My choice.

So…Gone fishing no longer means OOTO unless you want it to. And it’s this last part that’s interesting: those levels of closeness.


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