What Spring Break Can Teach You About Business


Spring break was such an exciting time in our college days; it's a shame that corporate America hasn't embraced the concept with open arms. Sure, 21-year-old me was an idiot, but surprisingly there are a few things that moronic, youthful me can teach modern-day, not-as-moronic-or-youthful me about the workplace. Don't think bongs belong in a business blog? Here are six-and-a-half lessons we can learn from spring break:

1. Pace yourself. Having the opportunity to shotgun a bunch of beers or chug bottles of Boone's Farm doesn't mean you have to. In fact, crazy spring break days like that usually mean you have to sit out of the festivities on the next day. So while it's great to volunteer for projects at work and be involved in a million activities outside of workplace, remember that you can't do it all.

2. Recharge the battery. Despite returning to school physically exhausted due to abusing your body with unhealthy levels of alcohol and UV rays, spring break actually functioned as a mental reset. And while I don't recommend going on a 10-day bender, consider taking some time for yourself to regain your drive and passion. This can be as simple as setting aside a couple of hours one night a week just for you.

3. Take (calculated) chances. Let's not go too crazy on this one or we might end up on a Girls Gone Wild video, but spring break did teach us the value of taking chances. Talking to that girl across the bar you thought was out of your league is the same as trying to make a sale to a company you never thought would be interested. Sometimes you just have to swing away!

4. Develop comradery. Almost all group spring break adventures concluded with friendships enhanced.* The bonding that takes place in a week often lasts a lifetime.** Consider ways your workplace can create this sort of connection, like a team happy hour or a Friday morning donut breakfast meeting.

5. Use stories. Maybe quiet and reliable Joe got noisy one night and streaked down Main Street. Or perhaps sweet Ellie entered a wet t-shirt contest. For better or worse, you came home from spring break with some good stories. Incorporating stories into your team meetings and presentations can make the day more fun and if done well, can create helpful, real-life analogies. But steer clear of using your actual spring break stories, as most companies frown upon nudity tales in the workplace.

6. Cost control. By jamming a dozen people into a hotel room, drinking below-bottom-shelf liquor that may not actually be street legal, and not washing your hands to preserve your hand stamp, thus avoiding the daily bar cover charge, you were saving money. You were maximizing your return on investment before you even knew what the acronym ROI meant. So if you need to trim the fat with your budget, channel your inner-spring-breakian.

And six-and-a-half: No need to take pictures or video footage. We certainly didn't need filmed evidence of spring break back in college and while I'm not sure why you would take pictures at the office today, let's just not.

*In rare cases, two group members pursue the same member of the opposite sex and friendships actually end -- but these cautionary tales are usually the exception.

**As do some communicable diseases. But again, these tales are (hopefully) the exception.

Jack Stahlmann is a corporate speaker and Huffington Post blogger. He can be reached at www.dontflinchguy.com