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The Work Martyr Complex - 40 Percent of American Workers Will Leave Paid Vacation Days Unused

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posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 03:25 AM

Unfortunately, all too many of us could be on vacation but choose not to. That's the finding of a striking and important new study released this morning by Travel Effect, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association. Entitled "Overwhelmed America: Why Don't We Use Our Paid Time Off?," the study found that 40 percent of American workers will leave paid vacation days unused.

Even more revealing are the reasons respondents gave for leaving paid time off on the table. The four reasons cited the most are the dread of returning from a vacation to piles of work (40 percent), the belief that no one will be able to step in and do their job for them while they're gone (35 percent), not being able to afford it (33 percent) and the fear of being seen as replaceable (22 percent).

In short, the long-term health and well-being of a company's employees is going to impact the long-term health and well-being of the company's bottom line.

We know, for instance, that, according to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses around $300 billion per year. Sleep deprivation tacks on another $63 billion.

Living a life in which we work all the time and never prioritize recharging simply isn't sustainable -- not for individuals, and not for companies either.

Personally, I found this study a bit sad to see. Rest is important for all of us and setting career, money more important than taking more vacation is a short-term decision and not a good one. There is a difference between working hard and just being stupid, and this, this is stupidity, when considering long-term effects of such decisions.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 03:30 AM
It's not always so much a choice but more the culture and pressures around you at work. Say you are a manager or supervisor and say the company you work for are not known for scratching each other's backs. If you leave there are things that need to get done that won't which means you have to work twice as hard with twice the stress upon returning. By the time you catch up you feel you are ready for another vacation. My last job I worked at for 10 years and received almost 7 weeks vacation a year. I know most can't say that and it had advantages but if I took that kind of time off my team would have imploded.

Of course all that being said, vacation time and sick time is something that needs addressing in America.
edit on 21-8-2014 by Rosinitiate because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 03:44 AM
a reply to: Cabin

I recall many years ago meeting an American fella while we were on holiday one year. He worked for a railway company as a driver and got 2 weeks holiday a year. A fair bit less than ordinary in my opinion.

Worse than that though, he actually had to spend his own money travelling to meet the train he was mean't to drive, without pay, including overnight accommodation. If that's not abusing an employee, I ani't seen it.

Anyway, we did have a lengthy conversation about the whole employment situation at the time and compared anecdotal stories. One word did stick in my mind during and after this conversation and it is persistent even until now;


Plane and simple.

Kind Regards

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 03:54 AM
a reply to: Cabin

i don't think people just decide to not take a vacation. from the people i know, it is the debt they are in that they cannot take a vacation.

get rid of your debt, you will have a better and more relaxed life.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 04:56 AM

originally posted by: subfab
a reply to: Cabin

i don't think people just decide to not take a vacation. from the people i know, it is the debt they are in that they cannot take a vacation.

get rid of your debt, you will have a better and more relaxed life.


or become the POTUS!

he seems to have plenty of time.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 06:46 AM
It's been over a decade since I've had a job that had paid time off, if I dared take a vacation I'd probably be replaced.

That's the reality of the working poor.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 06:57 AM
People should take whatever vacation they've earned, and then some. That as many as forty-percent of Americans don't really is a head-scratcher. They think that if they take their earned time off that someone else will take over their job? What kind of fear do American corporations put into their workers' point of view???

Two stories, for those who sit back and read these posts.

This just happened last week. I went into a hotel bar and a 30=something former American marine started up a conversation. During it he mentioned he didn't get enough Vitamin D from the sun, because he had meetings all day long. I suggested that he move at least one of his meetings outside everyday, for at least 20 minutes, so he could get sun. He and his clients could meet on a lawn, or a park bench, and have a snack while talking. He said he'd never thought of doing that.

A long time ago I was writing up a newsletter for a corporation, and one of their press releases came to me. It talked about the honoring of two of their employees, a husband and wife. Neither had missed a day of work for 25 years. That was literally one of the saddest things I had ever read. In 25 years not once did this couple say "Let's skip work today and go down to the beach" , or just decided to stay home. A husband and wife with 25 years of perfect attendance at the same company, what a disregard for living and enjoying life with at least the tiniest smidgeon of spontaneity.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 07:07 AM
I get two weeks of vacation a year. Then my company decides to close the company two points during the year (around 4th of july and christmas) and FORCES us to take vacation then. Granted as someone who works in IT, I'm allowed to come in during the breaks and work, but man that's screwed up in my opinion. Keep in mind that on the particular holidays that the companies are closed for we get paid then (4th of july, christmas and new years), but the rest of the week we are on mandatory vacation.

In any case, I'm going down to Florida on Halloween weekend for a music festival (Hulaween). Had to take off the Thursday, Friday (Halloween), the following Monday, and Tuesday for a total of 6 days off. I'm pretty stoked about that. Screw sacrificing my life for a company. I live for me and that means trying to stay as stress free as possible (I'm at work right now while on ATS).

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 07:20 AM
This baffles me. I take every single minute of paid time off. Who says you need to go on vacation? Just relax at home. And how can you not afford it? It is PAID time off afterall.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 07:29 AM
Depends on one's work. I've been with my current employer for 4yrs. I've never taken an entire week off. A few days at a time is the best I can do due to the nature of the work. We used to accrue vacation days at a rate based on our tenure. Last year the company decided that there would no longer be accrual. You could take as much vacation as you wanted as long as it was coordinated with your manager. Why did they do this? Because most of the upper level people aren't taking real vacations anyway. And this way, when people leave the company they don't have to cut a big check for unused vacation days. It's a really good company. But this is just the reality of the marketplace.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 07:38 AM
I have been married for over 17 years. We didn't get a honeymoon and we have not been on one vacation together in that time. I'm a stay at home mom so I don't get paid vacation but my husband does. He gets 2 weeks a year, but their average work week consists of almost 60 hours while the paid vacation only pays for a straight 40 (no overtime pay).

We don't roll in money and there are certain concessions that we have to make so I can stay at home... One of those is vacations and the ability to not work overtime for my husband. He gets two weeks a year and he usually uses that for when he is sick. He's allowed to take a day off and cash in a vacation day anytime he wants/needs to so he saves them for those times when he absolutely can't work.

There are a lot of reasons people don't take vacation time off from work. Mine is just one of them. If life were perfect we'd all take vacations every chance we had. While it is paid time off, a lot of folks need their overtime or they just can't afford to go anywhere so they just work.
edit on 8/21/2014 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 08:08 AM
Vacation? What is this vacation thing you speak of?

Been in the same industry for close to 30 years now. Tradesman. I am lucky to see 4 days off (holidays) a year and often have to pull overtime without getting overtime pay. Such is life in the construction field. Stagnant too in the wage department. But you know what? I can't help the fact that I love it, especially framing with timber or dimensional lumber. Something about that line of work is like Zen to me.

Anyway... there are quite a bit of us here in the US that do not get "vacation time". I wonder if that is factored in.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 08:09 AM
They said on the news this morning that if everyone took a vacation trip it would boost our economy by many billion dollars. Why would I want to give my money to the airlines, I would rather use it to maintain my home or save for the future if something happens.

The tourist and airline industry probably contributed to the creation of this study.

Now, people who don't waste their money still spend it on things they really need so their conclusion was just a twisted up application of the evidence.
edit on 21-8-2014 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 08:18 AM
Many places are different on how a person can use there vacation. A lot of people I work with would rather take the vacataion payout and receive an extra paycheck. Don't know if this is a sign of the economy.

posted on Aug, 21 2014 @ 09:25 AM
a reply to: [post=18316938]lightedhype[/po

I'm a retired person so I would like to share my working/vacation experience. My two worst vacation experiences were with a supervisor who believed the his people couldn't have as much vacation as he did. I had 4 weeks of vacation annually but he had only 2 weeks and he wouldn't approve any vacation request over two weeks annually. Many complaints were sent to HR but he would eventually return to his behavior. Not until my final retirement check was cut did his superiors realize the cost of his behavior.

My other vacation experience was an airline that scheduled flight crews for 1000 flight hours per year or 86 hours per month. If you schedule a vacation in any month the company would schedule the same 86 hours in that month. This is like working a full month in the first two or three weeks of the month so you can be on vacation. After they discovered the amount of money being paid for vacation when people left the airline they decided not to pay for unused vacation.

This is just my experience. Is it normal? It seems like that US employers view vacation, healthcare or any benefits paid to its employees as a liability. They use the lure of good benefits to get better employees but then they work to keep from paying them...that's the American way!

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