This is a series describing some of the regrets folks have shared during the last days of their lives. The goal is NOT to add guilt to your life, but to allow you to take a look at where you are and take the opportunity to make changes. I hope this effort will provide insight into your behavior and your long-term goals. Blessing on your journey!
One of the crazy characteristics of American’s is that most of us DON’T use our vacation days. According to a survey by CNBC, only 28% of Americans in 2019 planned to use all of their vacation days that year!
Are we addicted to work? Are we afraid that taking all or most of our vacation days would send a message to our boss that we are not fully committed? Do we dislike being at home? Do we lack the funds to take a vacation therefore we decide to just work instead? Do you feel that staying home is a waste of time? I’m sure that all of these are excuses are used to forego our vacation time.
One of the most common regrets shared by those in their final days is that they wish they hadn’t worked so much!
I am SUPER guilty here. I can’t remember EVER taking a “staycation”. I have forfeited so many vacation days unused it is ridiculous. I really can’t point to a single reason other than the feeling that taking a day off without a trip somewhere was just a waste of time. Additionally, I remember judging my friends who would literally game the system to max out ALL the time off. Some would take every last hour that was allowed in the formula.
I think that some of it is cultural. We pound the work ethic into our children to convince then that this is the only way to get ahead. But is it really that important in our career?
During the Great Recession, my salary was cut in half along with others in my work group. Most of the group cut back their hours accordingly. I was in leadership and sales (seeking work that wasn’t there!) and I felt obligated to continue to work full time for half pay. Although I was commended for my efforts during these tough times, it really had no long term effect on my standing as an employee. The folks that surgically cut their hours were not treated differently than I was. I don’t regret what I did, but it was a real learning experience for me.
So what should you do? TAKE THE TIME OFF! Spend time relaxing. It’s good for you! Spend time with your family. Create lasting memories with loved ones EVERY chance you can get. I would lay out the ground rules early with your employer. Tell them that you intend to use your vacation days. They will respect you for it and won’t be surprised when you max out your time off. EXCEED THE AMOUNTS IF YOU NEED TO! If you are salaried and you wish additional time off, let them know that you are prepared to forego pay in exchange for vacation time, if necessary. Don’t abuse the benefit, but TAKE ADVANTAGE of the opportunity that it affords..
PLEASE…Take your time off. Relax, recharge, create memories. You will find that it’s good for you, your family AND your employer. The time off should make you a better employee (and spouse, and parent and friend)! And more importantly, as you review your choices later in life, this is a formula to avoid a potential painful and very common regret!