Thermoforming Report

June Thermoforming Report: The Secret to a Real Vacation

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

June 2023.

Happy Friday! Today’s feature article about vacations is an off-shoot from May’s Thermoforming Report on sabbaticals – which is a recent trending topic. There was even a podcast this week from Harvard Business Review about the benefits of sabbaticals! We’ve extracted the vacations portion from a recent blog post, but it was worth giving it space to highlight here. The takeaway – invest the time, energy, and resources to rest because it is needed and very much worth it!

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

The Secret to a Real Vacation

Summer is here. Kids everywhere are done – or nearly done – with school. Moms and Dads probably already have some time planned to hit the beach or the mountains or… wherever you can stop and rest.

But what really constitutes a vacation? Though this seems an odd question to ask, in my experience, it is actually harder to define than you realize. As a younger man, married and with two young kids back in my days in Georgia, I had an older friend at church who offered me some sage advice as we were getting ready to go on a vacation to visit family in Florida.

How long are you going to be gone?” he asked… fully expecting for me to say, “A week.”

He was right. We had a very busy week planned: 3.5 days with one side of the family and exactly 3.5 days planned with the other side, with about a 92-minute travel time in between. Busy. Cramming as much as possible as we could in our few days off. Vacation? Nibbling around the edges maybe… but, was it a real vacation? Upon reflection these many years later, my answer would now be a resounding “NO”.

My learned and wise friend shared a ‘secret’ he learned all too late in his life and wanted to pass it along to his younger friend who had a lot of runway. Vacation, in his experience, started on day 7.

Let me explain.

  • Get home from work on Friday and start the pack and load in earnest.
  • Plan to pile in the van early on Saturday morning to make the drive to [fill in the blank].
  • Get there 8-12 hours later, unload, and settle in.
  • Begin to enjoy various activities with your nuclear and/or extended family and friends.
  • Visit an amusement park (fun… but are those really relaxing?!!), hit the beach (that definitely qualifies), take a hike on a mountain trail, or any number of other activities.
  • The days fly by, and you are doing your best to decompress… when you realize it is all of sudden already Friday – DAY 7.
    • That was fast! It’s over already?!
    • You’ve had fun, but you are tired.
    • Your brain kicks in, and you are already looking at the weather for the long schlep home.
    • You start wondering about work and may even take a peek at your laptop or phone to check in. Or – better yet – did you actually turn OFF your work email notifications at all?
  • Yes, you made good memories. Yes, you spent time together. Yes, you crammed a lot in, was there truly rest? Did you really vacate?

Here’s the day 7 secret that my friend shared with me: always plan ahead and take two weeks off! In his experience, the very first time he planned a two-week vacation, something happened on that magical day 7: RELIEF.

In the common scenario above, you’ve been busy, and the days fly by with fun and food and family – and Friday hits… and the get-back-to-life panic begins. But, THEN you realize you have another entire week ahead to rest!!! Now, that’s when real vacation and real stress relief and real rest happen! You wake up on day 7, and have 7 more days to go! Now – instead of coming home needing a “vacation from a vacation“, when you come back to work 14 days later, you are truly refreshed, renewed, and ready to knock it out of the park!

No matter the approach or method, “Taking vacations is… hugely beneficial to our wellbeing“. According to clinical psychologist Francine Lederer, “The impact that taking a vacation has on one’s mental health is profound. Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation.” [From Give Everybody the Month of August Off”, Jacobin]. The overall sentiment of the article: “It’s clear: taking time off of work is extremely good for you.”

Personal Reflections

I believe it is safe to say that vacations are needed for every person that works for a living. I would strongly encourage all of us – and I’m preaching to myself in this case as well – to figure out how to take 2 weeks off in a row at least once a year.

As a small business owner, taking two weeks off is not easy! As I made the jump into small business ownership, I vowed that I would protect myself against burnout again. After 9 years in the recruiting world, I recently realized that I really haven’t taken that sage advice from so many years ago. So, I decided that it was time to adopt proven wisdom and take a ‘real’ vacation!

I returned last week after an amazing 2-week vacation! Quite a few things had to come together to make it happen – not the least of which is having a great team member to hold down the fort in my absence (thank you Lisa!).

Lisbon, Portugal
overlooking the Tagus River

What I can share is that I am refreshed. I do feel better. I can look ahead to the rest of the year more confidently. In my case, I didn’t spend the time to reflect on the business and assess my personal desires for where it should go. It really was about rest, making memories, and enjoying the time away from the day-to-day. Renewal. And it was worth every minute of it!

My advice: figure out how to truly vacate. It will take planning, effort, resources, and energy… but, trust me, it will be worth it!


“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” (Robyn Yong)

  • PP Resin Prices Saw a Big Drop in May. via Plastics News.
  • Supply Chain Resilience Remains Critical in Post-Pandemic Era. via Plastics Today.
  • Resin Price Report: Ample Availability Brings Down Prices. via Plastics Today.
  • Recycled PET Prices Trending Down Amid Weak US Demand. via Plastics Today.
  • US Hiring Heats Up Unexpectedly in May but Wage Gains Ease. via Industry Week.
  • Global Plastic Recycling Market Forecast to Grow, Research Report says. via Plastics Today.
  • How the Best CEOs Continually Improve Performance. via McKinsey.
  • BLS Employment Report – May 2023. via MRINetwork.
  • Vacations 101
    This month’s main article is an excerpt from a comprehensive blog that takes a deep dive into all things vacations, including how Europe’s month-long holidays have evolved and the idea/practice of sabbaticals. via Siena Group.
  • Why Every Leader Should Invest in their Own Professional Development
    The buck may stop with leadership, but the learning never does! This article details why it pays to invest in professional development for your leadership as much as you would your business. via CEO Magazine.
  • When Your Employee Tells You They’re Burned Out
    Burnout is affecting both leaders and employees – and contributing to a talent shortage that’s challenging and costly to navigate. This article offers five steps to take when an employee comes to you expressing burnout. via Harvard Business Review.

VP/Director of Sales: This strong Senior Sales Leader has more than 20 years of experience in sales – 10 of that in thermoforming! He brings extensive experience in packaging in a variety of markets including food, med device, automotive, aerospace, CPG, and more!

3-for-1 Thermoforming Leader: This Product Development, Technical Sales Leader, and Tool Designer brings more than 20 years of experience in thin-gauge thermoforming. With the bulk of his experience in medical device packaging, he brings unique expertise and the ability to connect with customers, thanks to his very strong technical knowledge and application!

Manufacturing Engineer: This early career Manufacturing Engineer brings some thin-gauge thermoforming and design experience – both in tooling and packaging. Having recently completed his Masters of Science in Manufacturing Engineering, he’s immediately available and willing to relocate!

Even More Thermoforming Talent! We work with so many talented people in so many different functions – and all in thermoforming – that we can’t possibly highlight them all! We are here to be your Thermoforming Talent Partner. Whether it’s an Operations Leader, Plant Manager, Supply Chain Leader, HR Leader, specialized Engineer, Quality Leader, Sales Leader, or pretty much any thermoforming role, we are here to help. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to just reach out! 

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

Share our post with others

Love what you see? Share it with your connections now.