Get Back to Your Career

I'm the kind of guy who has trouble taking time off work. It never seems to be the right time to take time. I think, “Who's gonna do my job while I'm out?” Even worse, I wonder, “Will someone else do my job better than me?” As if my whole career is on the line. My hernia changed all that.

My first sign that something was wrong was a kind of pulling near my groin. At first it came and went—it was easy to ignore. But soon it was always there and by the end of a work day it really hurt. I hate to admit it, but I was having trouble doing my job.

As a supervisor at my company I walk around a lot, solving problems, checking in with teams. I was sure they couldn't function without me. But because of my hernia, I realized they were functioning without me anyway. I started checking in by email or phone, instead of in person. I was losing touch—that's when I decided to see the doctor.

I was actually relieved when he told me it was a hernia, and it was still small; they only get bigger the longer you wait. The surgery's not a vacation—something else I never found time for—but it's not open heart surgery either. And today there are different ways to repair it, so my doctor and I discussed the options before choosing the best one for me.

The surgery was easier than I expected. I went home the same day. I was sore and at first it was hard to walk, but it helps healing process, so I kept at it. I was back working—a shorter day at first—in a week, and going full-throttle soon after that. Best of all, I was feeling really good for the first time in a long time.

I learned a couple of important lessons: 1: By taking care of my health I'm taking care of my career, and 2: The place won't fall apart without me.

This year I'm taking that vacation.