The Vacation SuperstitionPosted: July 15, 2011
I like to think of myself as a guy who reasons things out based on facts. Maybe that is why I don’t really buy in to all the classic superstitions we’re all told are bad luck. Friday the 13th is just another day. Black cats are like white cats, only black. Breaking mirrors isn’t a problem, once you put aside the expense and the mess.
That’s not to say that I’m not superstitious. I just make up my own. I’ve got a big pile of them. I follow them religiously and they all can lead to disaster if not followed.
The Vacation Superstition
Vacations trigger one of my most closely followed superstitions. I do not speak of my vacations at work before I leave. Ever. Bad things happen to me when people know I’m leaving.
At first, I noticed this effect in my work load. I would let it be known I was going to be away and I’d get a last-minute project. I’d often barely be able to get it done before I had to leave on my trip. I perceived this as a problem with management and found ways to avoid that problem. I soon learned that my perception was way off.
When A Jinx Turns Ugly, Superstition Is The Way
As time went by it was apparent that this was not a management and work load issue.
The work load problem faded and was replaced by a worse one. Things started to happen to me before vacations. Not work load things. Accidents and other tribulations. I’d take a fall, or something would fall on me. I had a particularly bad encounter with a gentleman I’ve written about here before. My work vehicle was hit by a drunk driver, with me standing beside it. If something didn’t happen to me, something would happen at work that would put me in one of those “can’t leave this sitting for a week” situations.
After one of those “can’t leave it sitting” situations I was grinding through forms. One of the people whose work had put me in that situation stopped to see me on his way out the door. I gifted him with a particularly salty tirade about how things like this always happened when I was about to leave and that I ought to learn to keep my mouth shut about my vacation time. While he stood there, shocked that I could conjugate many of the words I do not use in polite company, I realized I had my answer.
It is bad luck to talk about vacation.
A Need To Know Basis
Through superstition, I have defeated that jinx. For at least fifteen years I have not had a true crisis right before a trip. The reason? No one who does not need to know is ever aware I am leaving.
My main assignment is to supervise a group of people. I share that job with a partner. One of us has to be there to manage the shift every day of the week. Most of the people who supervise us do not care which of us is there, as long as one of us is. So, until the very last moment before I leave, my partner is the only person at work who knows I will be gone for a week. I can tell him weeks or months in advance and suffer no consequence from the pre-vacation jinx. To the rest of the organization I am here today, gone tomorrow.
I have a trip planned with some great friends next week. What my friends don’t know is that everything hinges on the ability of one man to keep a secret.
I work with a Sphinx. Look out Chicago, here we come.