Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Friday, July 06, 2018

How Do CEO's Take Holidays?




Cresswell in Northumberland, Cresswell towers, coming home from holiday early, Mandy Charlton, photographer, writer, blogger



Last night after just 3 nights in beautiful Northumberland, we came home early due to various issues, mostly to do with work and the lack of not only WIFI but also pretty much zero phone signal, a half bar of 3G which lasted for just a few moments every hour wasn't a great prescription for being able to work whilst relaxing.

It sounds like a first world problem but even though I'd told people that I would be away on holiday with my both of my daughters together for the first time since 2015 it didn't stop people asking so much of me that I couldn't do that I felt anxious, overwhelmed and eventually decided to come home and so I'm back at my desk well before I was due to sit down again on Monday.

I don't remember this ever happening with my business in 12 years, my wonderful photography clients just always understood but being a CEO is different, not only do you have a team of people working for you, you also have the demands of your members, the licensee's and the admin who just don't have the ability do do some of the things you can.  I understand it, once you become a CEO people feel they have ownership of you and even when you gently impress on them that you're on holiday they still send repeated requests because there's no one else they can ask.

I suppose it's a unique situation, most CEO's have achieved so much that their team deal with most issues because they're paying them, they've built huge powerful iconic companies and they have payrolls to match.  We don't have that, we are two months old, we were a not for profit, we started with zero funding and yet there are some who feel that I should be able to pay large amounts of money or the expectation that we are suddenly rolling in it at the cost of our members and it's just not true.  We did make a profit in our first month of our £400 and in our second month of just under £600 which is amazing for a brand new organisation.  That doesn't actually account for money payable as a salary though so yes it seems like we're doing well and we are actually doing amazingly but we're far from being a company who can employ the people we want to employ like admin staff, coaches and problem solvers.  The suggestion by someone that I'm running a pyramid scheme made me laugh out loud, I live in the dodgy part of Heaton, holiday in cheap caravans and don't even have a yacht for the bath never mind in real life.

I have such belief that we can be a globally recognised organisation that I am risking everything, in 2020 I'm retiring from wedding photography and even next year I'm taking the business I love so much down to just 1 day at weekends so I'm ever more available for people who need me to do things.  I already give more hours a day than is possibly healthy but I'm willing to do whatever needs to be done to achieve the goals I've set myself.


I don't know if I'm going to holiday again anytime soon, usually I try to take a break every couple of months just for my mental health but it's not tenable if I end up back at my desk, early, feeling anxious and depressed because overwhelm has grabbed me by the throat.

I know there's a suggestion that I could maybe just turn off all notifications, not read or respond to emails and maybe even totally disconnect but anxiety won't let me do that, I'd dread and fear opening my email box after a week away.

Abigail quite rightly says that Richard Branson has his own island for a reason, CEO's can't have holidays so he bought an island, from where he can leave his desk and go kite surfing at any given moment so whilst I can't quite afford my own island I do have a plan for the future to work hard, buy a caravan (with super fast internet) and escape to their as often as I can whilst still being able to be present.

Life is changing, life has changed, I'm still adjusting but I'll get there...
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