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NEWS | Feb. 4, 2015

Go off the grid

By Chief Master Sgt. Mark Bronson 628th Air Base Wing command chief

Recently as I was watching TV, a pizza commercial came on.  In the first scene the family is trying to order pizza online and having difficulty so the dad announces, "we're going off the grid."  The next scene they are in a cabin in the country carving wood and have given up electronics. 

Last week I had the opportunity to take my family to the happiest place on earth.  So for this vacation I decided before I left I wanted to "go off the grid."  I took my BlackBerry so I could check it on the car ride there and back (safety message - while my wife was driving ... don't text and drive!) however; I locked it in the vehicle once we arrived at the resort.  I had my personal cell phone on me but did not answer texts, phone calls or e-mails.   I will tell you, it was one of the most relaxing weeks I have had in a long time.

That is what leave is all about.  A chance to get away, renew and refresh.  Yet we can't do that if we are constantly worrying about work, checking the BlackBerry, and responding to e-mails or making and receiving phone calls about work or other things in life.  I see this with higher-level leadership a great deal, but it is creeping into lower levels as well.  It is not uncommon for me to send an e-mail to a first sergeant, SNCO or even an NCO, and get an out of office reply that they are on leave, to then get an e-mail because they are checking their e-mail while on leave.  I love the dedication and it shows their commitment to the Air Force and their job, but it is contrary to the purpose of leave.  Again, leave is a chance to relax, refresh and to come back with renewed energy.  I don't feel you can do that effectively unless you "go off the grid."  There may be certain times you are working a big project and have to answer, but a great majority of the time it can wait.  So let it!

If you are one of those individuals who feel like they have to be "plugged in" while on leave, I challenge you to "go off the grid" next time and truly let your mind relax and see the benefits when you return.  You will be better for it, your family will enjoy you more and you will be more productive when you return.