Post Part I:
This being my first week back to work after a month-long hiatus, I inevitably get the usual sort of questions people ask when you get back from a vacation:
"Hey, where did you go?"
"Do you have any pasalubong?" (souvenirs)
"So, what did you do for one month?"
I'm amused by how very few people seem to get the fact that I didn't do "anything" in particular over the break. I did a hundred million things, maybe. I dunno. I didn't keep track. I read a few books, wiped quite a few TV episodes off my backlog, learned a few new programming tricks, cleaned up some stuff, finished a few games, and God knows what else. If I bother to explain this, I would often get that lopsided look from people saying "You wasted your vacation on that?"
I don't get this concept of "wasted vacation". The whole idea of a vacation is to have free time to one's self. Maybe for some people that means going off to some island resort or traveling overseas or something. For me it means I get to waste my time on whatever the hell I feel like doing when I wake up in the morning. (Or often around lunchtime.)
A lot of people burn away all their days working on a job they don't even enjoy, now that's what you should consider a waste of time. Not that I don't enjoy my job, but I certainly wanted that break (and I'm pretty sure I earned it.) I didn't have anything in particular to do or accomplish. I simply wanted to have free time.
Post Part II:
I came back to work just in time for annual assessment time, a stressful time for many people, as they wonder how much of an increase they're going to get, if any. Well, it's not a stressful time for me, as I don't really care much about the increase. My current compensation was already pretty good anyway, so anything I get this year is just a "win more" situation really.
What I would really appreciate (and I've told them this before) is more free time. I like my job, even enjoy it every so often. But I really enjoy my free time as well, and I actually wouldn't mind taking a significant (say, 20%) salary cut to gain one day of free time per week.
A lot of people say time is money. What many people don't realize is that time is more important than money. Money is simply one of the things time can be translated into. But time can also be transformed into other, more important things that money cannot provide: personal growth, the company of your loved ones and the freedom to be your own person... things that make the flexibility of free time far more valuable than mere money.