Even so, Deutsch is a rarity among power players. More typical is the public relations exec who outlined very frankly (if anonymously) her reasons for never vacationing. "One, I'm afraid everything would fall apart if I took off. Two, I'm afraid everything wouldn't fall apart if I took off, and people would find out what a phony I am."
Or take Aaron Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Concrete Incorporated, an Internet consulting firm that has gone from 13 employees to 150 in two years and whose clients include heavy hitters like Bertelsmann, Bechtel, and the Princeton Review. Cohen is running on Internet time to such a degree that, when he and his wife recently attended Lamaze classes, Cohen walked out because things were moving too slowly. Time for some time off? Right.
"In the last four years I've taken, I guess, two weeks," he says, and that was when he got married. "And I confess that I did work the first couple of days of my honeymoon."
His problem with old-style getting-away-from-it-all vacations, though, is not that he's an old-style wage slave, but that he - and many other new-style execs - don't entirely want to escape. "It's not that I can't be away from my office. It's that it's hard for me to be away from my work."
Cohen's work and his personal life are so integrated, he often combines work with play. For instance, he attends lots of conferences, and sometimes he brings his wife along. "Or, since we're a client services firm, I like going to places with exceptional [service] because it makes me think about what we could be doing better," he says.
But the bottom line is that Cohen fears his ship will come in - and he won't be around to make it fast to the dock. So much in this economy is happening so quickly, and Cohen wants to be sure he misses no opportunities. "I think right now we're living in a certain economic moment that's fast-paced and exciting, and as a chief executive of a client services firm, I have to be available to instruct people if necessary," he says. "And, though I don't expect that moment to last forever, I feel I'm now in a period of years where it's hard to get away entirely."
THE THOROUGHLY MODERN VACATION
So we've heard why some successful folk believe it's good to vacation. And why it's, shall we say, not advisable for others. At this juncture, we turn to our expert for comment. And if you're expecting him to say the latter group is insane, think again.
Dr. Sussman actually believes Cohen has a point. "New technology certainly has made work circumstances change. The speed at which the world conducts business has gotten much faster. You used to wait days for the post office to deliver a letter. Now people are literally responding to the beginning of a proposal on their computer screens while the end is still being written. So the old idea of a vacation where one totally gets away from it all, that that is what's relaxing, is an idea that maybe needs to be re-thought."