Monday Tip: Ask a co-worker about his best vacation ever

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsI know this seems too simple to actually work, but trust me, it does!

Your mission on this Monday is to ask a co-worker, at a suitable time of your choosing, what his or her best vacation ever was. Then listen interestedly to the answer and ask some follow-up questions. Good question might be:

  • So what did you like about it?
  • What was the best thing about it?
  • How did your family like it (assuming they traveled with their family?

This is a great way to get people talking because:

  • Everybody has vacations.
  • Everybody likes vacations.
  • Everybody is passionate about their vacations and put a lot of effort and thought into them.

If you feel you need an excuse to ask, you can always do it in the guise of asking for tips for your next vacation.

Why is this a good thing? Happiness at work is very much about good workplace relationships. It’s about making genuine connections between human beings, rather than between co-workers or bosses or employees.

You can’t really make these connections if you only ever talk about work, and you make the best connections when you get people talking about their good experiences. Sitting around the lunch table bitching about the weather, the taxes or your commute does NOT create good workplace relations or, indeed, much happiness at work.

The Chief Happiness Officer’s Monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

13 thoughts on “Monday Tip: Ask a co-worker about his best vacation ever”

  1. well, a word of warning… it can backfire. :)
    I just asked one of my colleagues and the question actually made her sad… she realised that even if she visited a lot of places along the years she could not pinpoint an out of the ordinary experience.

    “Everybody likes vacations.” is not true. Single people might hate them. Forced by the lack of work to take a good look at their life they end up realising the misery of everyday and when that is contrasted to the feel good of some of the lucky people in their close entourage it could lead to severe depressions, some might get so depressed as to contemplate suicide. I think the contrast is the worst thing.

    I remember a business trip to Marrakesh. On the last night there there was a wonderful party with a disco after diner in a superb location. People had lots of fun but somehow that contrasted with the perceived emptiness of my life and the ensued depression was so strong that I went to the buses that drove us at the location and asked the driver to let me in. I went to sleep and miss most of what followed: a demonstration of traditional dancing, traditional music and a fireworks ending.

  2. It’s a good idea. However, to add to the previous comment even if they do describe their best vacation, it doesn’t mean the conversation would naturally stop there or that that person won’t carry on thinking about their past vacations later. Great if they have had lots of good holidays, not so good if it reminds them of that last vacation where the hotel was a dump, their wallet was stolen and their lugage got lost :/
    Organize IT

  3. I’m afraid I’ll need to be counted in among the folks this question would backfire for; it would just depress me. I’m 34, and haven’t had a real vacation since my childhood vacations with my parents.

    The only way I manage to take an entire week off at a time (I work in IT) is when I’m able to schedule a week or two of “unemployment” between jobs, and in those periods, spending money on a trip is not wise. I’m tied to my email/pager even on weekends and holidays and on the scattered “vacation” days I can take. Most Americans only get 2-3 weeks of combined sick and vacation time in any case, and professionals are expected to read email and be available, even on their days “off”. I wonder how many people are able to have a real vacation these days!

  4. Peter: Thanks for trying it out and I’m sorry it made your co-worker sad.

    However, if we could only ever talk about things that could never, ever make anyone sad, we couldn’t talk about our marriages, kids, school, friends, pets, weekends, hobbies… or anything else really.

    Even if the conversation turns to a bad experience, you still have a chance to make a real connection to another human being.

    SpiKe: True!

    Lynn: I second Peter’s advice. No matter how great work is, people also need time away from it.

    Get yourself a vacation – or consider looking for a job where you don’t have to fight for the right to take time off.

  5. Well, i would have to admit that my best vacation trip was to the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic, where the sun is hot and the girls are hotter,
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  6. Wow Debbie Downers! It always amazes me how some people have that knack for putting such a negative spin on such a positive topic. Lost luggage, losing your wallet etc..can all be great opportunitues for story telling if anything else. It’s all about our attitude here, folks. I haven’t been on an actual vacation, other than a long weekend here and there, in years, but I am still able to have fun with it and bond with people over the topic. You all are totally missing the point here.

  7. Hey! Miguel tell me more about this resort about hot european and russian escorts in beach villa? How are the services there? What activities there in the resort with the escorts?

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