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Annual 5 Star Trip lives up to its name

Work travel without the work? That’s the deal on the F5 5 Star trip, an annual, all-expense-paid excursion to Mexico or Hawaii for 92 standout employees. But do the F5ers really unplug entirely for a week?

“Zero, zilch!” says Director of Employee Engagement Cindee Chadwick when asked about work obligations on the trips. “If you’re caught working, you get sent home.”

Too good to be true? Well, you can also can bring someone along, there’s spending money, and you don’t burn vacation days. Over the years, F5ers have hit the beaches in Cancun, Maui, Puerto Vallarta, Rivera Maya, Honolulu, Puente Mita, Cabo San Lucas, and Kona. 

“The resorts we choose are always five star,” says Chadwick, rattling off The Four Seasons, Grand Velas, Fairmont Kei-Lani, and The Kahala.

The trips started in 2007 for F5 employees from all over the world who are not in sales, which has a separate gathering. Leadership handpicks 92 recipients from a pool that includes the year’s 200 High Five Award winners as well as other high-performing employees.

For recipient Cathy R. five days earlier this year at the Four Seasons Wailea, along the southwestern coast of Maui, was bliss.

“My idea of vacation involves a lot of time spent prone on a warm, sandy beach, taking in the sunshine.” she says. “I did a lot of that.”

Sure, Beer Fridays are fun and uniquely F5. But is the 5 Star Trip the ultimate F5 perk?

“Is the Pope Catholic?” asks Cathy, a Senior Technical Training Developer. “Is the sky blue? Do fish swim in water?”