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Guys. Ireland was amazing. Seriously, everyone is so nice, funny, and helpful, the scenery is breathtaking, and the food is to die for. What’s not to like? I experienced wonderful things every day while I was there so it was bittersweet to come home. I’m glad I did, though–it would be tough for anyone to live out of a suitcase for that long!

We drove all around the country (literally), starting and ending in Dublin. We went south the coast (beneath Cork), then to various points on the west coast, then up to Donegal, and we ended with a night in Derry/Londonderry (which was incredible; I highly recommend spending some time in that city) before driving back down to Dublin.

Rock of CashelRock of Cashel

I learned a lot about myself, like that I can drive on the wrong side of the road with almost no problems at all! It was very empowering since I was in charge of all of the driving :).

DingleThe adorable street we stayed on in Dingle

I went with my grandmother because she’s been to Ireland several times with my grandfather (who passed away in 2005) and his family is still there. We were able to meet with some on the east coast and some on the west coast! My grandfather’s father was one of 12, so there are plenty of cousins to meet.

Blarney CastleThe view from Blarney Castle

I also was able to come back to work with very little trouble. I can’t rave enough about preparing extensively before a vacation and making sure that everything is in order, especially if someone is covering for you. I made sure to get my coverage partners treats while I was away to show them how much I appreciate their work!

Peace BridgeThe Peace Bridge in Derry

Overall, I’m so happy I went and I can’t wait to get back. This trip gave me many ideas for future trips to Ireland!

How about you, readers; have you ever traveled to Ireland?

Well, ladies and gents, I’m here! I finally made it to Ireland. We just flew in this morning and I was able to get a nap in this afternoon, thankfully. I wasn’t able to sleep on the plane at all! The past few days have been a whirlwind for me at work-I’ve been preparing for this trip for some time, but there is only so much I could do at work to plan what would come up in my absence. Luckily, my company has some wonderful procedures for vacation coverage.

I know exactly who will work on which tasks for my journals while I’m out, which was great for planning. It made my editorial offices feel better to know there is a specific contact person for them while I’m gone, just in case of emergency. It’s helpful for me as well, because I don’t have to come back to a mound of work that hasn’t been touched since I left. I’m so glad I was able to plan for this trip early enough that my editorial offices, colleagues, and I felt comfortable with my vacation.

Now, I’m off to enjoy myself (and to drive on the other side of the road! Wish me luck!). I’ll write again in June!

I’ve been thinking about my job a lot recently and how so much of it depends on talking to people all day. I speak to my editorial offices (mostly via email, but also on the phone), both internal and external colleagues, and authors constantly. I’m a shy (less so than I used to be), mostly quiet person and I remember wanting to pursue a career where I could get out of comfort zone a little, but not too much! Ironically, I chose a career in publishing that requires me to speak to people for most of my day. This communication, both professional and personal, helps maintain relationships in and out of work that can only benefit me in the long run.

I can speak with someone on the phone, answer an email, and talk to a colleague all within the span of 10 minutes while at work, but I don’t feel burnt out from doing this. Surprisingly, it tends to energize me! Staying close with my colleagues and my editorial offices has made a huge difference in the way I work. I could come in, do my job, and leave without cultivating any relationships whatsoever (it might be difficult, but I could do it). Not only would this be so unbelievably boring that I can’t imagine doing it, it would also be unwise for me to miss these opportunities. Every time I solve a problem an author is having via email or speak to one of my managing editors on the phone, I’m developing my interpersonal skills and preparing myself for the rest of my career. “Interpersonal skills” sounds like such a generic term, but these skills are very real and necessary. If I can’t communicate effectively with those around me at work, I will make my life (and theirs) much harder.

I’m a naturally introverted person and when I come home after work or a day spent with people, I tend to need to decompress for awhile and “rest,” so to speak. I sit in silence and do something by myself, such as read, watch TV, or engage in one of my hobbies, and this centers me and makes me feel more myself. That’s okay, especially after a long day! It prepares me for the next day where I will have to speak with many different kinds of people about a variety of topics, and I feel powerful because I can have a positive impact on someone else’s day.

Does your job or the classes you take in school require you to constantly communicate with people? How do you feel about it?

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but at the end of May until the very beginning of June I’ll be taking a trip to Ireland! I’m going with my grandmother and we’ll be driving (okay, I’ll be driving…) around the country. I cannot wait for this trip–I’ve been saving and planning for it for awhile now and it’s so close! I’ve also been planning for it at work and it will be the first major vacation I’ve taken since a week-long trip to Aruba in 2014. This trip to Ireland will be almost 2 whole weeks (luckily, Memorial Day is thrown in there and my office is closed) and I have to prepare for people to take over my work while I’m out. Here are my plans:

  1. Do as much work as possible before I leave. This is very important because I don’t want to leave a pile of unfinished article proofs or unreviewed copyediting for someone to deal with while I’m out. I want to be conscientious and make sure I don’t overwhelm anyone.
  2. Anticipate any problems that could arise while I’m out. Since I’ll be “working ahead” as much as possible before I leave, it will give me a chance to think about problems or questions that could arise from my editorial offices. If I can anticipate their needs, I can head any potential issues off at the pass so my coverage partners only deal with happy, satisfied people.
  3. Make sure everything for both of my journals is organized. I’m a pretty organized person as it is, but making sure the things that my partners will be working on are in order before I leave will help them immensely. There are a lot of coverage documents for our journals and I may have let mine get a little stale, so I’m planning on looking through those and updating all the information.
  4. Bring home little thank-you treats for my lovely coverage partners! I’ve covered for a few people during my time here and I always appreciated the nice in-person “thank you” or small gift of chocolate, etc. This is certainly not required, but I’d like to make sure the people who are helping me out feel that I really appreciate what they’re doing!

As my departure date gets closer I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list, but for now I’m concentrating on these items to ensure my vacation goes smoothly for everyone! How about you, readers–what was the longest vacation you took from work or school and how did you handle coverage or the workload while you were out?

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Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr.

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