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Uncle David and Auntie Evan are getting out of town. Way out of town. All the way to China and Japan.

Ni-how, konichiwa and whatnot.

They’ve been planning for ages. Now that they’re almost there, Uncle David is having a freak-out.

He’s starting to get really nervous. While Auntie Evan is getting excited over oriental liquor and staying in communication with the team overseas, Uncle David is getting worried about not having a vacation at all with all the micromanagement he might have to do out of his hotel bed.

We’ve all been there: setting off for a vacation with a head full of impending job tasks and inevitable call-ins. And, of course, our main topic for today: the nail-biting subject of your stand-in.

Here is Job Talk’s counter-argument: can’t there be a balance between checking in and throwing your feet up and sipping the sake?

Auntie Evan says YES.

Are you experiencing guilt over leaving your post? What if something goes wrong? Will the vacation be ruined?

Here’s the thing: you’re afraid somebody—whether it’s your stand-in or those under you—is going to screw up without you. And you’re just afraid to admit it because you don’t want to undermine and disempower your team or freak out your co-workers with your nervousness.

Let’s say you do sales at your company. And you know if you step out and your stand-in screws up, it’s going to cost the company thousands, maybe more.

Here’s something you might not want to hear: this is the perfect time for those left in charge of your position to fail up and learn.

You’re groaning.

But if you know they’re great, yeah they might lose some money, but something more important is going to come out of all this: you’ll be establishing a legacy and molding a future leader. Now, unless you’re a narcissist or the jealous type, this is a great thing. This an opportunity for them to rise up and make the company and your position more than just individual parts.

Somebody once told us: “The mark of a great leader is not how well the company runs when she’s there, but how well the company runs when she’s not.”

We can see that you’re expressing doubts. What if somebody asks your stand-in a question they can’t answer during a sales call?

Okay, for this one, we do in fact have an exact response, courtesy of our stand-in, Cousin Tom:

“Well, that’s one of the things we discuss once you begin working with us. The objective of today is to clue you in a little bit how we work and for us to find out a little bit about you, but it would be premature and quite honestly foolish to sit down and nail some of these things down in concrete before digging a little bit deeper.”

That’s our little bone for today. It’s your job to make sure that sort of response is ingrained before you go on vacation, and it’s your responsibility to leave the office a well-oiled machine that needs as few check-ups as possible.


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