I once worked for someone who never took a holiday. He would have a few days off at Christmas. but in the years I worked for him he didn’t take a summer holiday. One year at his wife’s insistence he joined her and their youngest son for a break. He was supposed to be on holiday for two weeks but he didn’t last the first week. He returned to the office saying holidays were “boring”. I don’t know what he told his wife.

Every day he was away he rang the office to check everything was alright. He said we should ring him if there were any problems. He would start the conversation with “have you been trying to get hold of me?” I hadn’t nor had anyone else. He seemed genuinely disappointed when everyone he spoke to said everything was fine. He would prolong the conversation with lots of specific questions about where the rest of the team was and what they were doing and had any of the board members or chief executive been around.

Some managers are afraid to go on holiday or be away from the office for any length of time - they think decisions will be made in their absence about their department and their future.

My boss was one of these managers. He didn’t trust his colleagues. He knew whispering campaigns could be started against people in their absence. He also knew that if he was out of the way, other departments could use the opportunity to influence budget discussions to the disadvantage of his department. It is, after all, easier to see examples of overstaffing, top heavy management structures and outdated working practices in other departments.

This is just an example of some of the worst aspects of office politics at a senior level, but in the current public sector financial climate many managers will be sweating on the beach over their future and the future of their departments. Whilst back in the office ideas are being floated about management restructurings, service reorganisations and radical solutions.