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pre-cation also precation

noun [countable]

a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

'… a Bay Area real estate company, stipulates that all new hires must take half a month of paid vacation before beginning work. This precation requirement has revolutionized productivity, allowing employees the chance to relax and revitalize before diving into their work with more vigor than ever.'

POPSUGAR 2nd October 2014

At the time of writing it's winter in the UK, and the idea of a relaxing holiday sadly seems like a very long way off. But what if there was the opportunity to leapfrog a few months of work and zip forward to the next vacation? It's a tantalizing prospect which sounds pretty unlikely but, surprising as it may seem, there's a newly emerging concept which makes it possible to do just that. However, like all too good to be true scenarios, there's one precondition, and it's a pretty major one – it involves changing your job.

the concept derives from the observation that the most capable recruits often finish one job on Friday, collapse in an exhausted heap for two days, and then pick up the baton in their new post on Monday

The newly coined term pre-cation refers to a holiday taken by a new employee on joining a company. In complete contrast to the conventional scenario of a new recruit not daring to request time off until they've learnt the ropes and proved themselves valuable after several months of work, the pre-cation is a 'pre-' holiday in the literal sense – it's taken before the newcomer even sits at their desk for the first time. The concept derives from the observation that the most capable recruits often finish one job on Friday, collapse in an exhausted heap for two days, and then pick up the baton in their new post on Monday. This means that they're being expected to start afresh at a time when they're still burnt-out from the demands of a job whose exhausting nature was probably what prompted them to look elsewhere. If, however, they spend a couple of weeks recharging their batteries, they'll arguably come to their new post refreshed, energized and instantly productive.

If you like the idea of a pre-cation (who wouldn't?) but are perfectly happy with the job you have, then it turns out there's another way to bridge the long gap between the end of one holiday and the start of another. If you're a social media fan, then you could embrace the concept of a statuscation, a new word coined to characterize the now commonplace activity of sharing your holiday plans on Facebook, etc. The idea is that by communicating your plans to others, from the point you book through to unpacking your suitcase when it's all over, you'll prolong your enjoyment for as long as possible. Typical stages of the statuscation include posting pictures of your tickets, uploading snaps of the departure board, runway and view from the plane window, selfies and legsies in breathtaking locations (appropriately captioned of course), and making online connections with new found companions on your return. All this sharing of photos, excitement and happy memories mean that rather than only lasting a couple of weeks, the holiday vibe can be kept going for several months.

Background – pre-cation

Pre-cation is a neologism emanating from the USA, allegedly originating with 42 Floors, a real estate company based in San Francisco. The term is of course a creative coinage which follows in the footsteps of other recent blends based on the word vacation. This is a trend which began in 2008 with the staycation, a reference to a holiday in which you stay at home and visit places near to where you live. Other -cations followed (e.g. daycation = day trip, greycation = holiday with grandparents, mancation = boys only, etc). However, resonating with society in a period of economic downturn and austerity, it's only really staycation which has genuinely caught on, still used on both sides of the Atlantic despite the fact that vacations are routinely described as holidays in the UK.

The term statuscation looks like it could be a similar flash in the pan, but it does have the added bonus of being a clever double entendre – status as a social network posting or as a reference to a social position. On the same theme, there's also now the fakeation, a 'fake' vacation invented by posting contrived photos on social media.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

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Read last week's BuzzWord article. Stacking.

This article was first published on 16th December 2014.

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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