Vacation Poor America
Of all developed countries in the world,
Americans are the absolute worst at
taking time off from work.
Compared to the good people in England,
France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Norway,
Denmark, Italy, and Sweden (I can go on),
the good people in the United States take
less than the 14 days they have earned;
on average they take around 12 days a year.
And usually not in a row, compared to those
in other countries, who earn and take up
to 30 days of vacation per year…much of
it all at the same time.
A Very Dull Saw Indeed
Should we conclude that we would obviously
rather keep hacking away at things with the
proverbial rusty saw than take the time away
from work to sharpen it?
Are we that in love with our jobs?
Or have we all come to accept a misguided
managerial way of thinking about time off
that equates taking vacations with employees
goofing off and decreasing company productivity,
instead of understanding that time off pays
dividends, nurturing a sustainable workforce?
(And that was with just one foot on the soapbox!)
The Vacation Deprived
Not working with a sharp saw is
dangerous. And not taking time off for
some vacation is also potentially dangerous.
All work and no play is a recipe for
burnout, no matter how much
you may enjoy your workplace.
And if you are one of the 40% who
experience high levels of work stress
according to the American Institute of Stress,
not taking vacation time can indirectly
be associated with increased rates of
heart attack, hypertension, and other
physical and mental health disorders.
Stop With the Excuses Already
So you can’t take an entire week
off of work, or you would lose your job.
So your boss still expects you to be
available to handle emergencies.
So you can’t afford to travel to
beautiful, exotic locations.
Fine. Start taking what you can,
right where you are right now.
Try taking several three or four-day
weekends of vacation in a row,
if you can’t get away for a week.
Try a “stay-cation,” which counts
as long as you are not working!
If you can’t leave, explore where you
live as if you were a tourist.
Go see the sights!
Just please stop and smell the roses.
They aren’t going to bloom forever.