The paper considers the context of leisure work for senior personnel in four sectors. The contention is that senior personnel in the British 'leisure industries' (Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure) find it difficult to be 'at leisure' predominately because of the attachment and responsibility they feel to their occupations. The impact of technology, of the dominant work discourse and a subsequent externalization of work are all considered. Spontaneity in activity is the most obvious loss for senior leisure industry personnel, exacerbated for women with young families, as the social organization of time privileges work time over family and leisure time. Contradictions are noted in those providing leisure opportunities for others experiencing little leisure of their own. What leisure they do experience is considered under the banner of 'real or apparent' leisure. The paper discusses the implications for the leisure industry, especially the potential problems faced in promoting their industry as a career choice that offers freedom, action, excitement and achievement and escape from the mundane drudgery and boredom of conventional work.