Let me try a phrase on you:
That’s right. I said unlimited vacation. I’m sure you can’t wrap your brain around that. I couldn’t either, at first. But it’s true. When you work at TheLadders, you get unlimited vacation days.
It’s a groundbreaking philosophy. But… how can we do it?
Simple: We don’t hire slackers. We hire people who want to do awesome work, and want to come in every day and kick some ass. TheLadders HR and executives know that we’re not going to abuse that policy.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t use it. I recently took advantage of our unlimited vacation and headed off to Australia and New Zealand.
For a month.
A whole, consecutive four weeks. I’m not a tenured professor on sabbatical—but I took three consecutive weeks last year, too. So I wrapped up my projects and assigned coverage to my amazing team (thanks guys!), and packed my bags.
Not to sound trite, but it was the trip of a lifetime. I started with two weeks in Australia: First, the cultural capital of Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road. Next, the diverse neighborhoods and iconic sights of Sydney—take an $11 ferry ride to Manley Beach if you ever go, you’ll get great shots of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, from the Manley Ferry. Sydney, Australia.
I capped off my Aussie visit with a dive on the Great Barrier Reef that opened my eyes to a breathtaking world, and was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.
My best shot from the dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Nemo!
I followed that up with some family time, as my sister currently lives in New Zealand. She’s a doctor at a small hospital in a remote—but very friendly—town called Balclutha.
My mom also flew in—it was Thanksgiving week, after all! From Queenstown to Dunedin, we toured the whole South Island, stopping at my sister’s house to celebrate the holiday—turkey was actually hard to find!—with some other Americans that worked with my sister. (And some new Kiwi friends!)
As we toured, we drove past skyscraping mountains and rolling, grass-covered hills and pastures reminiscent of the Scottish countryside. (The running joke in the car: Look! Sheep!) A boat cruise through the idyllic glacial fiord of Milford Sound—complete with a pod of dolphins who took a liking to our boat—was the highlight.
Milford Sound National Park, on the South Island of New Zealand.
Then we flew up to the North Island. We visited Rotorua, which everyone in New Zealand calls “RotoVegas.” (Kiwis are super nice and Rotorua was fun and beautiful, but clearly not many Kiwis have been to the real Vegas.)
Eventually, I ended my trip in the beautiful harbor city of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest, with 1.2 million residents. (As we drove past sheep farm after sheep farm, I had to remind myself the whole country had less than half of New York City’s population.)
I’ve only been back to work for two days. But I definitely understand the real reason we have unlimited vacation: It’s the way I feel right now. I’m rested, re-energized, ready to get back to work and kick some ass.
Bill Beard is the Associate Creative Director of Copy for TheLadders. He (obviously) loves to travel, always has ESPN.com open, and always takes the cheese option when it’s offered.