Vacation's Not Spoken Here

+ More

With mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie beckoning Americans to holiday tables, it's hard to imagine anyone being chained to a desk this Thanksgiving. But if you're a small-business owner, chances are you are squeezing work in between touch football and feasting. It's impossible to completely cut off if you are in charge of a company, says entrepreneur Jasen Lew, cofounder of Small-business owners like him are responsible for everything from making Office Depot runs to marketing.

About two thirds of small-business owners expected to take off an entire week for summer vacation, according to an American Express survey released earlier this year. Still, even then, most of them planned to check in on work at least once a day. Fewer than a quarter were going to cut the cord completely. Small-business owners have trouble giving up control of the steering wheel, AmEx found. Many worried about whether the people they left in charge would make the right decisions. The smaller the business, the less likely the owner was to take a vacation.

This week, Lew plans to take his first extended vacation since last year, when he cofounded the company, an online meeting place for seniors. The 27-year-old took only half a day last Christmas to be with his wife and baby. Now he has enough help to let someone else man the ship when he's away. While he plans on taking this whole week off, Lew estimates that he'll spend a couple of hours a day checking his E-mail, either early in the morning or late at night so that it won't interfere with family time.