We live in an age when work-life balance is heralded as a near-universal goal, something important and beneficial to aspire to. Long gone are the days of being told to ‘work until you drop’ or to accept the perils of ‘the rat race’ as a price worth paying in order to get on in life. Everyone would surely agree that this is a good thing, and making time for a relaxing vacation is part of searching for that optimal work-life balance. Listening to one’s mind and body, and recognising when you need some time out, is today seen as so important that using your allocated vacation leave is even mandatory in some companies.

We all know the feeling, that moment, so rich in anticipation, when you prepare to leave the office: you turn off your work phone, set up your out-of-office message, pledge a full digital detox to your sceptical colleagues, and off you go. Life can be so beautiful… Except, of course – and here comes the catch – at some point you do have to return from your vacation/festive break/parental leave/sabbatical. Yes, don’t pretend you didn’t read that. Perhaps you even sense a slight sinking feeling that starts to creep up on you whenever the end of your leave begins drawing ever nearer.

It’s a fact of life that returning to work after an extended break is never easy. It just isn’t. Or maybe it is? Maybe you are one of those happy souls that does, indeed, live to work. Either way, your attitudes to taking vacation leave, and your feelings when you know that you have to get back to work soon, reveal a lot about your personal level of professional satisfaction. It pays to listen to that inner voice and to consider the implications of your underlying emotions. (Remember that whole work-life balance thing we mentioned?)

Take our quick personality test below, and discover your true feelings about the challenges associated with returning to work – and what that might mean for you, your job, and your professional future.

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