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5 Reasons Why People Don’t Take Vacations

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There’s no bad time to take time off. But in a new guest post, Mark S. Brown gives five reasons why people don’t take advantage of vacation.

Airplanes at an Airport

© Flickr user Emran Kassim

Here’s some wisdom from Mark S. Brown:

Americans only take half their vacation. Really? If the statistic is true, then I think half of Americans must take all their vacation, and the other half take none. I know plenty of people that take all their vacation, and a few that never take vacation.

Why do we not take vacation? Here are my leading theories:

1. Vacation is still work. We cannot seem to get away. We are connected by phone and email, and our company expects us to stay connected and work. So why go if you are just going to work? (Note: these are not real vacations.)

2. You don’t want to be disconnected. Even though it is hard to be disconnected in this modern world, leaving your desk and maybe some of your gadgets behind makes you feel unconnected. It is amazing how we have become a society that connects more online than off.

3. You like your routine. There are some personality types that just prefer a daily routine. Vacations become so stressful that they are not worth it. I am glad I don’t fall into this category.

4. You feel like you would be penalized by your employer. When you look around your company, do people that don’t take vacations get treated better? I’m not sure how prevalent penalties really are, but I am sure there is an increase in companies that expect you to do some work while on vacation.

5. You would rather work than take a vacation. You may be one of those Americans that just feel like work is who you are. You prefer to work hard and find your own success. You are probably uncomfortable on vacation. You can’t relax because it makes you feel unproductive.

I am glad I am included in the group of Americans that enjoy vacation. As soon as I finish one, I am planning the next. Did you take a vacation this year?

By the way, Mark’s data is true. Americans really do take only half of their paid vacation:

91% of full-time U.S. workers receive paid vacation, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research…[and] employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off.

Plus, there is support for his five theories. According to reporting from Forbes, people work on vacation and are generally afraid to go:

Only 25% said they use all their paid days each year and 61% said that while they’re on vacation, they continue to work. A quarter of respondents said that a colleague got in touch about work while they were on vacation and 20% heard from their boss.

Thirty three percent of respondents are afraid no one else in the office can properly fill in for them. Another large group, 28%, fear that they’ll fall behind. Seventeen percent are afraid they’ll lose their jobs, 17% fear they won’t meet their goals, and 6% said they were afraid of the boss.

Mark S. Brown, Guest BloggerThe answer to the vacation crisis is to go on vacation and trust that it is what is best for you. If you can disconnect, you’ll get recharged. And if you fall behind or lose your job, that’s a good sign you don’t have a great employer in the first place!

Take time off. We’ll be here when you get back.

Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people’s lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.

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  • James Ryan

    I just returned from vacation! Absolutely, a must. I will take another later in the year; and likely take unpaid days.

  • Will Gott

    A lack of work-life balance is the second most common reasons employees leave job. Almost 75% of HR Professional say employees who take more vacation time have higher job satisfaction. There is plenty of research to support the benefits of vacation time for the employee and the company…Take your vacations!

  • Chris Adrian

    I disagree. Taking vacations are a waste of time and money. Best place is to be in the office the required time the entire year. When people go on vacation, it pushes their workload onto others which is not fair. It is the most dedicated employees that get assigned the extra work for the slackers who call off. There is no difference with vacation. A team member leaves and their work becomes your work which will only increase your stress. Work life balance is a sham. Forget the vacations and do the job that you were hired to do. If you get PTO, discuss with your employer if you can get re-reimbursed for not using it. Put the money you would spend on vacation and funnel it into your retirement account, home improvements, or pay off debt. Considering America is drowning in CC debt, paying off debt is more important. This is not sarcasm, but the honest to God truth. Your desk light should be the first thing your manager sees in the morning and the last thing your manager sees when leaving for the day. I doubt anyone got fired or laid off for not taking vacation.

    • robbyslaughter

      Thank you for your comments, Chris.

      It’s true that in many companies, going on vacation does shift workload to other people. But isn’t that just a result of poor planning?

      Also, people go home from work and sleep. We need sleep to recover and recharge. So what’s wrong with longer periods of rest?

      • Chris Adrian

        Sleep is important to our overall health. Well rested individuals are healthier and happier than others who do not get enough rest. As to longer periods of for vacation is wrong. You asked if switching workload is poor planning. Yes, it is. I work for an international company that’s touts work life balance, but the company let’s too many people off in one department for vacation which causes unbalanced workload causing people to start their days hours earlier and end their days late. Management is aware, but nothing is done . One former supervisor liked the idea that I do not take time off around holidays so there is more staff to assign to. My opinion stands. But it is my opinion. Those who disagree and may want to tell me to go jump in a lake or worse due to my opinion is fine. Opinions are like a**holes; everyone has one.

        • robbyslaughter

          Chris, it sounds like your problem is not with vacation, but with poor planning and with dishonesty. If a company claims to care about work-life balance but does not actually practice it, it will create issues.

          Thanks again for sharing your opinion.