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Give Me A Break!

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Around our offices, we have a slogan: "America Deserves a Vacation!" That's because we're a hard-working country. Too hard, some say, since surveys report half of the workers in the U.S. report symptoms of burn-out. And job absenteeism is at an all-time high. In terms of hours, we work two months longer than Europeans each year. Two weeks longer than the Japanese. Most Europeans and Australians get four to six weeks paid vacation a year, but Americans only average nine days. That's according to Escape magazine, which is soliciting signatures on a petition asking Congress for a federal law mandating three weeks off a year after one year on the job.

You might be surprised to know there's no law requiring any employer to give paid vacation. Most of us only get two weeks off a year. Lots of workers consider themselves too valuable to even take that much vacation. I once had an editor who told me that people who don't take vacations often make what he called "the mistake of the central position." That's the belief that the world will come to a halt if they're not on the job every day.

We all tend to make the mistake of the central position or get so involved in our day-to-day lives that we lose perspective, get burned out, forget the magic of the world. Vacation, and vacation that includes travel, can bring it back.

Savvy Resources:

  • Escape Magazine

  • Working at Play: A History of Vacations


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