Dear Cubicle Coach: Half the office will be taking vacation this month. I'm not, so is there something I can do to get ahead while they're all sitting around the lake grilling tilapia?
Dear Stuck In The Office: CC likes the way you think. It's OK to chill and cut out early the odd Friday, but you can also use this time to self-start on above-and-beyond work you couldn't get to in the bustle of regular deadlines. Research projects you could take on outside your normal realm upon the boss's return, and draw up some proposals on spec to have waiting for her. And volunteer to cover for a higher-up who's off on holiday. It's a good stretch for you, and excellent fodder for your annual review. Who knows, maybe that jellyfish reaction will keep her out longer than expected.