The H.R. Doctor Is In
What an amazing place to be
dictating the draft of this article - up on the Lido Deck
of the MS Imagination, half way across the Caribbean between
Miami and Cozumel, Mexico.
more than half a century the HR Doctor has avoided going on a
cruise, preferring to spend precious vacation time walking in
the woods, in the mountains, or in exotic jungle surroundings,
such as Los Angeles. However, it has long been a dream of the
beautiful HR Spouse Charlotte to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum,
Mexico. So, here we are!
Heading back towards Miami after
four restful days gives pause to look at what happens when you
work very hard during the year and then go on a great
vacation. As the time off winds down, you start thinking about
all the projects yet to be completed, the hundreds of e-mails
which must have piled up, how your colleagues are doing, and
what bizarre events have occurred while you were gone. This
kind of thinking is depressing!
Years ago, a national mens
archery champion found himself in a slump, his aim and his
consistency failing. He sought the advice of a coach who
considered his dilemma, looked at him, and said, "When you
wash the dishes, wash the dishes!"
idea - and the main theme of this article, despite the
beautiful view that I now have from the ships deck - is
the importance of being able to stay focused on a particular
goal or process.
live in a society in which we are constantly bombarded by bits
and bytes, by smells, sounds, sights, feelings and more that
can regularly put us on sensory overload. The effect of the
bombardment is that many people become "paralyzed" by the
conflicting inputs our brain receives.
a result of this paralysis, none of the dozen or more projects
underway at any given time may receive the necessary
attention. Instead of "washing the dishes" when we stand in
front of the sink after dinner, we think of 20 other things,
with the result that we leave bits of dried foods on the
silverware, we cut ourselves accidentally on the kitchen knife
hidden in the dish water, and we scald ourselves with hot
advice to the archery champion is the same as the HR Doctors
advice to you: focus on a specific project, see it through and
move on to the next opportunity or task. Of course, this does
not mean that we must all become guests in a monastery and
think only of one thing to the exclusion of everything else.
However, it does mean that when you are on vacation, be on
vacation. Look out over the ships rail as I am now doing and
enjoy the beauty of the water, the sun and clouds, and the
breeze rather than thinking of phone calls, e-mails, and many
you are unable to do that, you might as well take a vacation,
however briefly, at your desk looking at memos and paperclips,
but only thinking of the forest or the water.
may seem like a contradiction to write an article about
focusing while on a vacation. Isnt it contradictory to have
the view and the experience described above, but to be out on
the deck with a dictating machine?
answer lies in what it is that makes you relax, what it is
that you enjoy doing, and what it is that helps you put a life
experience in perspective.
the HR Doctor, the chance to have a different experience, see
different places, meet different people and consider, in an
article, or just in thoughtful meditation is in and of itself
a mini-vacation. If you are passionate about things you like
to do, doing them, no matter what the circumstances might be,
Your mind is on cruise control,
your pulse rate declines, and you come away invigorated and
refreshed. The lucky minority of working men and women is in
that group which can find this combination of enjoyment,
passion and relaxation by doing their work rather than by
wishing that the clock and calendar would advance overnight 10
or 20 years in the future so that they could retire and be
done with it. Such unhappy "trapped" people will die
prematurely, and before dying they will be miserable, and
probably inflict some others with their unfortunate
the HR Doctors case today, Mother Nature, along with Carnival
Cruise Lines and its crew members from literally dozens of
different nationalities, have combined to make this vacation a
real exercise in being on "cruise control." In particular,
Monika Roman, from, where else but Romania, "adopted" me and
made the cruise particularly memorable with her superb
I look back at this experience, I will recall the beauty of
the ruins and the Caribbean, and the customer service which
frequently exceeded my expectations. That is the package which
will lead me back for another cruise. I wonder if the MS
Imagination has any openings for an HR Director. Assuming the
answer is "no," it will be back to work next week refreshed
and experienced in the difficult art of thoroughly relaxing
amid Mayan ruins, constant food, and very interesting
then, life among the ruins sounds like the subject of a future
HR Doctor article!
Hope you get to cruise