How many times have you heard someone say this, including yourself? I woke up this morning and begin to think about ALL of the things that I have going on and my conclusion is… “I need a break!!!” The sad part is that even though I need to step away and go on vacation, the truth is that I won’t. And what’s more, YOU won’t either.
According to a CNN report, as an average, Americans were expected to give up 2 days of vacation time due to non-usage. Seriously? Use it or lose it in full effect!! The part that was crazy to me is that as an average we only received 12 days to begin with which is already down from 14 days in 2011. So, we lost 2 days and then we gave up 2 days… something about this story just ain’t right!!! But, this is better than 2011!! How about in 2011, 57% of Americans had unused vacation time and MOST of them had 11 days leftover!!! That’s like 70% of their vacation just left on the table.
I did a little more digging around and according to a 2011 Business Insider article, among all of the developed countries in the world, the United States has the 3rd least amount of days off. We got beat by Canada and China in that respect. We hardly get any vacation time but then we don’t use it. Hong Kong is next in line with 26 vacation days! That’s almost double what we have!! On the other end of the spectrum the French, Russians, Fins, Brazilians and Lithuanians all get 40 or more vacation days per year!!!! Man, I’m trying to tell you… 40 days!!! Child please…
But, why don’t we take vacations? The top three reasons that I’ve found are… (1) Most of us feel that we have too much work; (2) We can’t afford to travel; or (3) we’re afraid to take off.
Let’s talk about affordability first. The greatest issue that I’ve learned in talking with people about vacation isn’t the cost of the vacation but rather the expectation. We feel like in order to take a vacation, we need to go somewhere far away. We need to get those frequent flyer miles up. We need to be sittin’ on somebody’s island somewhere. Real talk… What is a vacation? According to Webster, it is a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation. Does it say how far we need to go? Let me help you… NO!!! That’s where we get it messed up. We’ve all laughed at people that said that they were going on vacation but they weren’t leaving the city. It’s a waste of time. You better save it up so you can GO somewhere. No, that’s the wrong thinking. If a vacation is simply vacating my everyday pattern then let’s go get a hotel room 15 minutes away from home and just eat room service for one night.
The feeling of having too much work and the fear of taking off are like first cousins. They are definitely related. The question that I have always posed to people who have these fears is, “What happens to your job if you were to die?” The quick and easy answer is this… they will put someone else in your seat. They will train someone else and the job will keep moving. Not taking a vacation because of workload is dumb. There will ALWAYS be volume. There will ALWAYS be deadlines. YOU will NOT ALWAYS be around. We overwork ourselves until we get sick. Longer hours in the office and now we work at home. We don’t even stop working to have dinner anymore. We have our iPads right there on the kitchen table. I’m sorry to tell you this but STOP IT!!!!!!
Being afraid to take off is the same thing. Why are you scared to leave? If YOUR job were important and your work ethics were good then you bring value to the employer and would be hard to replace. If not, then they are waiting for you to mess up again anyway. You might as well take a vacation and get paid to be off!! Seriously, if you’re afraid to take a vacation because someone else is going to do your job while you’re gone… Go get another job.
True story: When we lived in Miami, Florida, we met a couple that were long-time residents of the city. If you know anything about people that live on or near ANY coast, most of them never go to the beach. But, as newcomers, my wife and I were ALWAYS at the beach. This couple was so overtaken by our love for the water that they decided to come with us a few times. Don’t forget, they’ve been living next to the beach for at least 15-20 years but they never went. Their goal was to retire to Georgia, or somewhere up South, within a few years. Here’s the turnaround, they said that they didn’t have the time to go and see the city or go to the beach like we did. But, after they retire to Georgia, they would come back to Miami and spend vacations there…
Here’s the wrap-up, our lives are fully stressed. As a society, we are wound up tighter than a serpentine belt. There is a reason that employers offer vacation time. It’s not because they want to, trust me. It’s because they need to. Employees who take vacations are generally happier, more content and more productive. So, do your boss a favor… TAKE OFF!!!!
I love you ALL!!!