The Vacation Superstition


I am not scared (Image via Wikipedia)

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

"I am going on vacation, can you cover me?" (image via

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.


27 Comments on “The Vacation Superstition”

  1. I’m glad you’ve found a way to take vacation without jinxing it!

  2. Spectra says:

    Superstitions are important. So are the finely-tuned rituals we develop to ward off the bad to come. Hope this is a good vacation for you!

  3. Todd Pack says:

    Hope the jinx doesn’t extend to the blog. Enjoy your getaway.

    P.S. That’s scary, the drunk driver hitting your car while you’re standing beside it. Glad you weren’t hurt.

    • omawarisan says:

      Me too…my blog and the people who read it have gotten pretty important to me.

      PS – Thank you, that was probably the scariest thing thats ever happened to me. Guy never hit the brakes. I’m looking at my car…boom…now I’m looking at his car.

  4. Kim Pugliano says:

    Thank you for trusting me not to pick up the phone right now and call your workplace.

  5. linlah says:

    But does talking about it here jinx it or this is a secret non-jinx kind of talking about it.

    • omawarisan says:

      Oh no, its cool to talk about it. I’ve even told the group I work with now why I never tell them. And its not that I don’t trust this bunch, they are real pros. I dont trust the jinx.

  6. Blogdramedy says:

    A co-worker who can keep their mouth shut. A rare breed, indeed.

    • omawarisan says:

      It works well. For important things like vacation it is great. For really important things, when it is time to say when something isnt right, we’re both prepared to scream.

  7. This is so true. We had a boss once who conspired to ruin vacations. I swear. In the days before cell phones he once got the Mounties to find a guy who was fishing up somewhere in Canada and summon him back for some man made crisis.

  8. jacquelincangro says:

    Does your co-worker have the same jinx? Are you the only one he can tell about vacation?
    If you were both out at the same time sounds like it would be pandemonium.

    • omawarisan says:

      I don’t know if he’s run into it or not, but just as a practice we deal with one another on this and just surprise everyone with which (or both) of us walks in.

      We’ve got good people on our shift. I think they’d keep making the world a better place. It’s the people over our heads I think would sink the ship.

  9. Laura says:

    I don’t think I ever mentioned how much I liked your Dog and Wolf story — I think it was one of your best.

    Have a great vacation. I’m impressed that the people you work with respect your superstition.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you so much Laura. I like that one too, and I’m kind of harsh on me.

      Oh I’m going to have a good trip. My best friends,a big city to play in, Cubs tickets and a Jimmy Buffett show. Can’t miss. But unlike the last trip, I will still be here.

  10. spencercourt says:

    Instead of vacation superstitions, I have poker tournament superstitions….

  11. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    But going away is not nearly as bad as coming back! Because, then, you have to listen to the whiners complaining that you got a break, the endless questions about your vacation, and face the piles of stuff on your desk, the emails, the voicemails. Ugh. Whenever I go on vacation, that post-vacation glow only seems to last me until my first bathroom break of the morning. Then I just want to smack everyone I see throughout the rest of the day. There should be some grace period when you return that lasts at least a week. And it should be reverently observed by all the slobs you left behind.

  12. shoutabyss says:

    It is weird. I think you’re on to something here. I don’t get a lot of vacations so I can’t be sure. But I do know this: As soon as I leave town that is when your tooth will go supernova and cripple you with pain. Good times!

  13. Katybeth says:

    MMM—good to know you have all this bad luck stuff worked out and it does not follow you on vacation….just in case you might be traveling in the vicinity of the midwest–you would not want to add to the misery of an already cursed baseball team.

    Have fun. Be mindful.

  14. Greg says:

    Right on Omawarison. Just like Ernest Hemingway said, “You lose it if you talk about it.”

  15. gmom says:

    We call the jinz the “evil eye”.
    The toilet will overflow while we are packing up the car.
    It’s just God’s way of having his little fun.
    I think the trick is feigning a mild case of contagious strep the day before your scheduled departure. For sure you’ll get the bum rush out the door.
    Have fun on your vacay. I hear Chicago is a state.

  16. Maxim says:

    I’m pretty sure that d-bag Fred just told everyone every detail about your vacation. Here comes the jinx!

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