Bank Holidays offer a complete break from it all – except the BlackBerry

Workers are finding it increasingly hard to log off when they get time off, according to a recent survey. One investment banker’s wife describes the stress of vacationing with a workaholic husband

Did you enjoy your Bank Holiday? I hope so – but spare a thought for those who couldn’t, because their spouse was clamped to their BlackBerry.

Discussions about working while on holiday often neglect to mention the impact it has on families. I have countless examples of how work has interfered with our holidays over the past 24 years.

Our four adult children associate most of their family holidays with whichever deal my husband was working on at the time. For example, Portugal was the xxx IPO deal, Canada was the xxx takeover deal, and Wales was the xxx Christmas – such is his preoccupation with work while on holiday.

There have been many occasions when we have had to remain silent on car journeys while my husband has taken part in a conference call or we have had to seek out places with a phone signal and stay there for the duration of a work call (memorably on foot at the top of a Welsh mountain in torrential rain).

Only last year he had to put a dongle in a carrier bag, tie it to the top of a window-opening pole and climb an apple tree in the graveyard outside our Landmark Trust accommodation so he could get a signal. And that was in Somerset.

On another recent holiday he was involved in an hour-long conference call at 3am every morning – 9am UK time – so that our wake-up alarm was set for 2.45am every day.

These days the front passenger seat of the car, once the most sought-after spot for family members on a long journey, has now become the least desirable place to sit. This is because if my husband is driving, it is the front passenger who has to read out his incoming emails and type and send his outgoing ones. And this can go on for hours. Hardly a relaxing experience.

When he took a day’s holiday to go to our daughter’s graduation last summer my husband was wired into a conference call, on mute, in Durham Cathedral, even while the ceremony was taking place.

For the whole of the graduation dinner that evening, his place at the table was unoccupied and his food uneaten while he stood outside in the car park, on the phone trying to avert some disaster on the takeover he was involved with.

Perhaps most shocking is that our daughter wasn’t too upset by this behaviour, as she has grown so used to it over the years.

Even before the days of emailing and mobile phones, work interfered with our holidays. Back then, communication with the office involved faxing and using couriers, as well as the landline phone.

I remember spending hours in a car with four young children in a remote part of Portugal trying to find somewhere to buy a fax machine. My husband spent much of the rest of the holiday sitting by the pool studying rolls of faxed documents. Another time when we were staying with my mother she woke us in the middle of the night alarmed that there might be an intruder in her garden. In fact the “intruder” turned out to be a motorbike courier trying to find the letterbox. And then there was the courier in Italy who phoned us in the early hours because he’d got lost and needed directions.

One might think that the most remote places would be the best holiday destinations with a workaholic, but experience has shown us otherwise.

Then again, mobile signals across Africa are amazingly good, even in the most secluded safari camp. It is difficult, but not impossible, to talk on a phone while skiing, and easy to stop on the side of a slope wired up to an earpiece.

It is impossible to email and take part in a conference call while scuba-diving, but dives don’t last very long and you can’t do more than a few each day, which leaves plenty of time to return to emailing. I’ve lost count of the number of phones my beloved has broken by going for a swim in the sea, forgetting his phone was in his pocket, but it’s not long before he finds another one to use. I’m still waiting to discover the perfect getaway as he won’t go anywhere without his BlackBerrys (note plural), laptop and iPad.

In our experience the holiday has become more of a “take your family to work” week than a proper break, and can leave family members more frazzled at the end of the holiday than at the start. They say a change is as good as a rest – but I’m not so sure.

This article first appeared in Financial News, efinancialnews.com

VIDEO
News
news
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Arts & Entertainment
film
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Apprentice IT Technician

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

    1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

    £153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

    Sales Associate Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

    Apprentice C# .NET Developer

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We provide business administration softw...

    Day In a Page

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

    Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

    Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

    Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
    Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

    Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

    The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
    Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

    Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

    The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
    Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

    Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

    This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
    Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

    Education: Secret of Taunton's success

    Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
    10 best smartphones

    10 best smartphones

    With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

    The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal