design consultant mandatory vacations

I seem to remember one of the halo design consultancies requiring designers to take vacations every year to a part of the world that they’ve never visited and then prepare a little presentation when they got back. Does anyone remember which one or have a link to story referencing this? IDEO? Frog? Ziba?

Thanks ahead of time!

sounds interesting - do you recall if the business paid the expenses of this required vacation?

there’s a nice habit in the office where I work that when someone travels to another country, they bring back treats for tea time. When you’re working in a consultancy in England, many of the work trips are overseas, so we get lots of interesting snacks (and learn a little bit about the culture in the process)

Not exactly what you asked, but I thought you might be interested in examples that get the team thinking about other cultures…

no_spec: I remember that the consultant was big enough that I’m sure the designers are already making more than average. Hell, in the US today, just having the time off would be nice…right?


ill bring back a presentation about my apartment and how comfortable my bed is. ill even talk about the glories of sleeping 8hrs all in one day. ive been counting down til thanksgiving just to get that 4 day weekend.

I haven’t take a vacation in almost a decade.

Why not?

Isn’t that your own doing?

Are you working to live or living to work? If you don’t want to take vacation, I guess that’s one thing but sometimes people (not saying you mpdesigner) talk about not taking time off like a badge of honor. But we only have one life, I would like to get out and see the world.

I would also like to start tea time in the united states.

Vacations are so important, even if it is a week in cabin an hour away from home. I need 2-3 times per year to reflect. Last year I did the Berkshires for a week in a farm house in the middle of no-where (before you think I’ve gone rustic it was furnished in mid century modern), Aruba stayed in one of the quiet secluded beaches right on the water, and San Francisco (before I had any idea I would be moving there) rented a condo in Pac heights, in a coue of weeks I’m headed to Portland for a week. Got to do it to get some head space.

Required to go to a new place every year? That’s demanding a lot if they aren’t paying for it and throw in extra vacation days for that. Don’t get me wrong, I love going new places, I take every chance I get, but some people just want to wind down and spend time with their kids at home or their summer house and polish their boat. Now I get the point in getting people to get new experiences and world views, but come one - telling you how to spend your free time, I just don’t see it feasible. Perhaps what you read meant you’re required to make a presentation IF you go some interesting place. Or they DO pay for it, which would make me very jealous…

What’s that old quote that to see new things you dint new to go new places, you just need to look at things differently.

True, but it’s hard to get into a different view point without getting some distance.

The reason I brought the topic up is I just got back from my first trip to Europe. When I was there, I was actually disappointed that it wasn’t that different from Canada or the US. However, after being home for two weeks, I feel the difference more. It’s like I needed to get away from my routine, but also return to it to understand what I experienced. Strange.

Mr-914: where did you go? You’re right thou, it´s not that different because culture, standards, values, education, wealth, religious views, even food are pretty much the same. Of course there’s lots of historic and inspiring things too see and do, but you won’t be in for a culture shock.

Check out UK series “An Idiot abroad” if you have the chance. It’s about a not-so-open-minded Brit who gets sent to places around the globe (China, India, Mexico etc) to experience other cultures, and he HATES it. Really funny (crew behind The Office). Sky TV Packages - Combine Sky TV & Netflix |

Whu, you’ve been over here? Shame, that I was offline and didn’t notice

Which cities did you visit?

I am looking forward to hear more about how you experienced it.

yours mo-i

I’ve heard of another book like that called ‘Ciao America’. Many of my foreign friends in the USA really liked it and thought it reflected some of the differences…

Between N America and Europe, I think a lot that is the same on the surface, but I really think there are big cultural differences. Even between the US and Canada, let alone Europe. Part of my family is French, but I grew up in the USA away from their influence until around 2002. In embracing that side for the past 10 years, I’ve found there are some cultural ways of thinking and doing things that are very different than in the US. What’s important in life. How they act toward each other. Even the way they walk and carry themselves.

Here in the UK, differences really pop up when you live in the environment for a while… Even Halloween was different, more toward the scary & frightening vs. the American style that’s more about funny, out of the box, or sexy. The evening scene on the weekends - very different too. Driving, different. There is a lot that’s the same, but observations strike my wife and I all the time.

BTW, my wife is Canadian too and has some strong opinions on the differences above and below the border

Anyway, I’m curious too - where’d you go? How did you find it all?

I’ll post up some of my thoughts, photos, etc in the off-topic forum sometime soon.

I decided it would be more appropriate to toss my vacation comments up somewhere else (as Core isn’t my own personal pet). You can find my musings at:

I should get everything up within a week. Thanks for the interest btw!

I have had several design friends in contract positions at Microsoft over the years, and they have an unusual mandatory vacation policy. Because of lawsuits about the similar responsibilities but big differences in benefits between contractors and employees (don’t get me started…), they used to require a contractors take a 1 month unpaid vacation each year to make the status’s clear. Interesting

This would need to be verified, but I believe that is a federal legality with all US contractors. If you work more that 11 consecutive months as a contractor, your employer will be up for some pretty heavy federal fines. To avoid this, contractors must take a month unpaid or be offered full time employment. Again, to my knowledge, I’m not an employment lawyer.