July 29, 2009, 5:00 am

Bad Reasons for Not Taking Vacations

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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vacationI’m leaving on August 9th for vacation and I just can’t wait!!! Every morning you wake up, eat, take a shower and get ready for another day at work. While I really like what I do at work (I feel very fortunate to love my job!), it is nothing compared to spending time with my family or traveling. “The worst day on vacation is better than the best day at work.”

Sadly enough, there are people not taking their vacation. Although they are entitled, they are not taking the time off. I just can’t believe it… The worst part is they all have good reasons:

I’m going to lose my job:

Unfortunately, we are living through a strong recession and it may not be the ideal situation to be away from work. I read a survey saying that 50% of workers in England would not consider taking time off this summer. The recession is that bad, they prefer to be at work in order to react if there is a “surprise reorganization party”. I just can’t imagine leaving work thinking that I could never come back to my desk. This is a horrible thought…

On the other side, do you really think you can avoid being laid-off by being there all summer? If the powers that be have to cut expenses, your manager won’t think “I will not lay him off this summer, he is working…. I better wait for Christmas vacation… mwhahahaa”. I know that human resources departments are evil, but still….

They can pay my vacation days back:

Some employers offer to buy back untaken vacation days. So if you need more money to manage your budget, not taking vacation has a double effect as the expression goes “if you’re not making money, you’re spending it!”:

#1 You are getting additional money from your employer

#2 You don’t spend additional money on vacation

While this technique seems quite appealing from a money management point of view, it has a dramatic influence on both your mental and physical health. You are working all day, rushing yourself through traffic, diving into a pile at work and under constant pressure to deliver. What is so bad about taking a few weeks off to relax, read a good book or simply to clean up your house?

I feel guilty taking days off:

Some people think that they are too important; the organization can’y survive without them. They think the company won’t run if they are not there to manage their files. Some think they have too much work on their desk to leave for 2 weeks (“who will take care of my clients when I’m not there? Brad? Come on! He can’t even find the coffee machine!”). Finally, others may think they will be seen as the guy who abandons their colleagues.

I have shocking truth to tell all those people: it is only happening in your mind! I actually once thought that I was managing too many files at a time to leave from work. That my clients would cry and all the deals in progress would collapse during my absence. Funny enough, I took 6 weeks off when my wife gave birth to our second child. After all, being present during the arrival of a child was still more important than work 😉

Some things went sideways while I wasn’t there and they had to ask 2 people to take over my job. However, when you look at the big picture, 3 weeks after I left, everything was running smoothly and I didn’t have to deal with any major issues when I came back. I realized that I seemed indispensable for the company for a good 2 to 3 weeks. After that time frame, my department was running as if I never existed. Nobody is irreplaceable for an organization… It may hurt your ego but it is the truth 😉

For most people, taking a few days off to disconnect from work will increase productivity and motivation when they return. Hence, you are better off leaving for 2 weeks then come back with a brand new outlook. One thing is for sure, I am taking my vacation no matter what!

image source: Kenzoka

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[…] The Financial Blogger likes vacations. […]

[…] most common reasons for not taking a vacation? Fear of job loss, the need to sell vacation days back to the company, and the biggest one: fear […]