In the northern hemisphere its August (OK, its August everywhere), and that means summer holidays. Traditionally, many countries (specifically France) seem to shut down in their entirety. Certainly, not much seems to get done (just like the southern hemisphere mid December to md January period). Yet, these days, the “tyranny of technology” means that its harder and harder to really get away.
I read a great piece this morning on the phenomenon of leaders who feel too self-important to switch off the phone and ignore the emails (“War rages? Why fret? It’s August, time for vacation” by Debra Pickett, Chicago Sun-Times, 19 August 2005). The article was actually about President Bush, and the 5 week holiday he has taken, and made comments on his work ethic generally (working out 6 days a week, always in bed by 10am, the only President in living memory to look younger after a term in office than before, etc). The article is worth reading, just for the dripping irony of the last line.
But I digress… The important part is the middle section, where the author comments on leaders who feel the need to be in touch and in command all the time. I wonder if one of the symptoms of the connection economy will be the ability to take decent holidays? I have copied the relevant piece below for your reading pleasure.

These supercharged masters of the business universe, staying connected to their offices from beachside, poolside and mountainside, want to believe they’re indispensible, that the world simply could not run without their input. So, even as they complain about the 24/7 demands of the new, new economy, their griping reflects a certain pride in their own importance, a kind of needy arrogance that the slacker generation finds archly funny.
Because, really, how important can these guys be?
I mean, the president of the United States gets to be out of touch and he’s got a war to run.
So surely the head of the sales department can slip away for a few days without seriously damaging the free enterprise system.
President Bush seems to embrace the slacker notion that all this connectivity is highly overrated, that it’s far cooler to be unreachable than to be constantly in touch. And there’s something rather beautiful about that, even if it is a little scary.
Bill Clinton, for all his saxophone playing and womanizing, was, at his core, a geek. He is said to have liked nothing better than pulling an all-nighter to sort through the intricate details of a new policy proposal.
It is safe to assume that President Bush has never pulled an all-nighter — at least not one that involved studying. He is not the kind of guy who tries to impress people with how hard he works. In fact, he seems to have a certain contempt for the idea that putting in long hours is a sort of virtue.
So, despite the current state of the world, he’s still got time for two-hour mountain bike rides and brush-clearing and tree-cutting and long sessions with his iPod Shuffle.
The president has time to work out six days a week and still manages to get to bed by 10 each night. If the leader of the free world can maintain such a great schedule, you have to wonder what’s holding the rest of us back.

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