Episode 69: Are You a Member of the No Vacation Nation?

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Did you know that in 2018 there were 768 million days of vacation that were just not taken in the US alone? 236 million of those days didn’t carry over to 2019.

That’s $65.5 Billion in benefits just thrown away.

This is what the No Vacation Nation looks like – just giving away vacation days, and for what? Are you expecting an award for perfect attendance?

Do you live in the No Vacation Nation?

Let’s talk about this:

[03:48] You need those days.

Firstly, if you don’t take those vacation days, you’re losing an average of $600 (roughly one to two weeks) worth of paid time off.

How long can you function optimally with no time off?

You need those days to unplug and take care of your wellbeing.

[04:20] For the business owners out there.

If you run a business, you need to know what the effects are of your employees not taking time off.

If they don’t take their time off, they become fatigued. This leads to a massive drop in productivity, which ends up with them being unhappy. Unhappy, fatigued employees are more likely to call in sick or take unscheduled off days.

If you think you’re saving money by them not taking their paid vacations, I’m here to remind you that if they’re unproductive, your business will lose money. 

[05:51] Burnout.

The longer you work without taking time off, the higher your chances of burning out. Once you’re burnt out, you can forget about being productive or finding any enjoyment in the work you’re doing.

[06:41] The honour of perfect attendance.

In school, there was an award for perfect attendance.

A girl I knew in school got the perfect attendance award for not missing a single day of school from kindergarten right through to her high school graduation.

What is the reason for this? Why would people not take their vacation days? Are you one of those people?

[07:49] A mountain of work.

Some people have a fear that taking time off will mean they’ll be met with a huge backlog of work when they get back.

The thought of having to do extra work just to catch up a vacation is just too stressful, so they decide to skip on their vacation days.

[08:24] No one else can do their job.

Some people have a fear of taking time off because they’re the only person that can do their job, so taking time off means the work just stops, and that’s not great for business.

I know how this feels. When I take time off, no one else does my work, but that doesn’t stop me from taking time off.

Your work will still be there when you get back.

[09:13] You are the boss.

If you find yourself in a senior position, your fear of taking time off might be because you need to be available for your employees at all times.

As the head of the business, you also need to take time off. If you take time off, you’re sending the message that your employees can also take time off. You need to encourage them and allow them the space to feel comfortable in doing so.

[10:01] You can’t afford a vacation.

So, you can’t afford to take a luxury vacation, but you have paid vacation days?

Those paid vacation days are to unplug.

You can unplug in your local hotel, at a camping ground, or even at home if you can’t afford to go anywhere. You don’t need to take a 2-week vacation abroad just to unwind.

[11:46] You’re going to get bored.

There are people out there who think that if they stop working that they won’t have anything to do.

There’s more to life than just working.

Take that time off, discover who you are as a person, read a book, talk to your cat, have coffee with friends, walk around your neighbourhood, throw some paint at a canvas – anything.

There’s so much to do that if you don’t like something, you can still find something else that you do like to do.

[13:08] Corporate Dedication.

This is probably the most common reason people give for not wanting to take time off: they want to show that they are loyal, dedicated employees. 

Your loyalty to the company is one-sided. Never taking a day off in 20 years doesn’t guarantee that the company won’t let you go when the day comes for them to make those decisions.

Giving up your vacation days only benefits the company, not you. You’re losing out on your wellbeing while saving the company money because they don’t have to pay for your absence.

Don’t do it.

[14:48] Disconnecting from the office.

Most people struggle with this when taking time off.

It’s difficult to not check your emails or make sure everything is running smoothly at the office.

I can relate.

Bryan Robinson says: “Always take a vacation, not a guilt trip.”

Follow Bryan’s advice.

If you absolutely can’t avoid checking your emails while on vacation, you can set aside time to do so, but don’t allow it to consume your entire vacation.

[17:06] Working hard leading up to vacation.

In some workplaces, you need to do extra work just to be able to take vacation days.

If you need to make preparations for your vacation, you can start weeks before your time off. Schedule your time leading up to the vacation so that you don’t have to do excessive amounts of work right before you leave.

[18:56] Outperforming your co-workers.

If your goal is to be employee of the month all the time, then there’s something wrong.

Purposefully yourself into a mental breakdown or severe burnout just to be better than everyone else isn’t something to be proud of.

When your burnout does eventually happen, your work is going to be done by one of the very people that you’re trying to outperform. All this does is prove that they are, in fact, the better workers because they can handle the work.

In the end, I really just want to know why people don’t take their vacation days.

If you could get paid while doing no work, would you do that? That’s what paid time off is. So, why aren’t you taking it?

You need to sit down and figure out what the reasons are that you aren’t taking the time off that is given to you for your benefit. Once you’ve figured this out, you can take the necessary steps to solve the problems that are preventing you from taking care of yourself with time off.

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