Vacation? What's That?

from the we-don't-need-no-steenkin'-vacations dept

It seems like our always-on lifestyle continues to kill off the idea of vacation time. We’ve had stories in the past about how people tend to still check in with work while on vacation, in part to avoid having to deal with a huge stressful pile of things to do when they return. The latest study suggests this trend is continuing as the idea of the completely disconnected vacation is disappearing. Many people don’t take all of the vacation time offered to them. Plenty of people never take extended vacations longer than a long weekend, and an astounding 24% of people say they didn’t take any vacation at all. On top of that, those who do go on vacation don’t disconnect. 72% say they stayed in contact with the office by email or phone while on vacation — and, once again, many do so in order to avoid having a huge pile of work on their return. However, because of that, many say that they return from vacation more stressed than when they left. The article notes that this is a worrisome trend, but perhaps for many people it’s just become the norm to blur the work/life balance — and completely disconnecting on vacation would be even more problematic than staying partially connected.

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Comments on “Vacation? What's That?”

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dustin says:

i hear people complain about this

Is it really that bad? I have a really laid back office where it’s more, get your work done than it is be here from 9-5. Nobody abuses the issue and everyone gets there work done.

Sure it means working a few hours through vacation. But it also means I don’t have to schedule time off if I need to see my kid play baseball one afternoon. That is what being on salary is about. You get work done on time and it’s not about what you can do in 40 hours.

Gryphon (profile) says:

Re: i hear people complain about this

That’s nice that your company allows that. Every salaried job I’ve held, it was all about how much they could pile on you.The last salaried position I held, it was the norm to be under a “mandatory overtime” policy – 50 hours per week min, no extra pay. But when the rare slow period came around, there was no leaving – I had a higher-up tell me that there was always cleaning I could do.

getreal says:

People have a image or view of themselves. The office won’t blow up, customers won’t defect, life will still go on when you go on vacation.

I think part of it is that people want to make others feel like they are vital, are unreplaceable, can’t be gone, because if things can go well when they are out, well then, they just are not that important.

An Onimous says:

I work to live, I don’t live to work. I don’t work overtime anymore. I don’t skip vacations. I don’t even answer the phone on vacation if the caller-id says anything other than family or friend. Anyone that does any of the aboce, I have to ask: do you realize that the days you have left to live are finite? If I told you that you have 36500 (roughly 100 years) to life, how many are you going to trade in? How much would you pay just to have 1 more?

I’m sorry, there isn’t a high enough wage in this whole world for me to work more hours than the minimum required to keep my job and sustain my current lifestyle.

What are these people working for? A bigger house, which comes with a bigger mortgage? A bigger car which they can drive less?

I feel like such an outsider. I have everything I need, and I enjoy life as it comes. I’ll let everyone else fight over the 500″ flat screens, I enjoy a good book.

If your work life is your life, then you need to get a life. Start by quitting your job. If your job means that much to you, its because you are lacking in your own purpose or like the ego trip of being needed or better than others. Unless you actually work for the benefit of humanity, that is. Most work for the benefit of a large check or “kudos”.

Can anyone trade in kudos for another day of life? Will a kudos cure cancer, or even let me sleep better at night? Will it make my life better or stop global warming? Didn’t think so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I absolutely agree. When I’m on holiday I don’t take my mobile phone with me. This then allows me to not only ignore work, but also everyone else in my life so I can get on with having a decent, fun holiday. I’m secure enough in myself that I know being out of contact with everyone for 2 weeks won’t result in the world ending and will absolutely allow me to better enjoy my holiday.

I’m one of those outsiders too and it gets me in so much trouble at work. Regardless of the quality of my work I have always been penalised for not being “pro-active”, this is regardless of whether my work is done on time and regardless of it’s quality. I get called non pro-active because I choose to go home after I have completed my work at the end of the day, rather than stay a couple extra hours and do additional FREE work. I love that word pro-active, the English translation is as follows:

Pro-active = a willingness to bend over and be repeatedly arse fucked free of charge, even though you are already sore and bleeding. To sacrifice your very existence for a two bit, piece of shit company that actually doesn’t give a shit about you but in essence owns your soul.

I truly pity those who have no life but come out with statements about this being the 21st century and that’s how it works. Well good for you, I’ll go on holiday and enjoy it while you spend all your time on your blackberry.

As An Onimous said, what are you all working toward? Are you just working for work itself? Why? Seriously get yourself a life and you will be so much happier.

Just to finish off here is one of my most recent managers favourite qoutes:

The setting: 6:45pm on Friday in the offie just as the team is about to leave my manager gathers us around for a quick “stand up” meeting, it goes something like this.

“I know it’s the weekend and enjoy your time off but try to remember we have a lot to do on Monday, so even though it’s your day off please keep all the important issues in mind so we can all come in with some solutions on Monday”.

My response: Yeah right, fuck off you loser and die.

Estera Favalora says:

Re: vacations and sustainability

I often times tell people that the worries you have when you are alive do not matter when you die, so why worry about them in life? Even the dalai lama says the purpose in life is to be happy and to waste a life on saying that ‘I spent half a century worrying about material things and the Fed and what society thinks of me and consumer culture, etc, and so forth’ doesn’t warrant much happiness. I too feel like an outsider, but it makes me a spectator at the rat race rather than a participant. ~E

claire rand says:

bizzare american holiday habbits.

This sort of thing is one of the few reasons I’m happy to live in the UK, though other bits of the EU are even better.

decent lenght holidays.. I get 35 (including bank holidays, but I can move them around).

out of the office = hard to contact, my office don’t have my landline number, and only two people have my mobile. they can get me by email, *if* i’m at home. otherwise work stays at work generally.

They want me to work from home they can give me a laptop, and even then it will only be playing catchup on an evening. holiday is just that, or it should be.

and as for the steaming mound of c*ap when I return.. it gets done when it gets done, I have a schedule, and I avoid taking time off when it will cause *me* a problem, if something crops up while I’m off.. *shrug* I’ll look when I get back, I’m not paid to be anchored to a phone out of work, so I’m not.

apart from holidays and a few other bits.. the uk sucks. (its raining *again*)

Anonymous Coward says:


I have come back from a 3 week vacation to find my job was not longer present. They got a new guy in to do the job at half the rate while I was on vacation – of course they still billed the client the full amount. It did not seem to matter that it took the new guy at least three time longer to do the job all they saw was that he could bill three times as much for the same job.

Common sense says:

Its understandable

I consider it understandable to never be completely disconnected from work. If I had a job that paid me enough to take 3 or 4 weeks off at a time, I would assume I am an important individual and would prefer to keep in touch and ensure things were going alright in my abscence. The idea of ‘totally disconnecting’ when you run the show is both ignorant and stupid. I would rather make an important decision in the first week of my 3 week vacation, than return to a disaster 2 weeks later after I, ‘didnt answer the phone because it was work.’ If you are on vacation and are being called because you play an important role at the company, have some common sense and answer the phone because it could be your job at stake for. If you are on vacation from a job that pays well and will continue to afford you a certain lifestyle, have enough respect to answer the phone for the corporation or person who affords you this lifestyle. Hi, my name is common sense, have we met?

Vacation is a privilege, not a right. People who are close-minded and think the entire world lives like Americans think it’s a right.

claire rand says:

important calls

if at *any* company one individual being out of the office for a week or two, and uncontactable causes major problems the company has a problem..

what happens when that person is off sick? possibly for a long period?

*every* role should have someone else able to do it, maybe not as well, or not as fast, but at least well enough to cover while someone else is brought up to speed.

Given companies cope when the fire people… frankly when i take a week off don’t phone me and I won’t phone you.

as for the argument that if they call it must be important.. well I’d answer the phone the first few times, if it was trivial rubbish forget me answering again.

yes it could be important, but given ‘important’ has in the past covered such things as ‘how do i send an excel file as an attachment’ and the all time classic ‘everything i type is comming out in capitals, what do i do’… (caps lock.)

i prefer to be incommunicardo, if i get paid enough to be ‘on call’ then by all means call me, otherwise. no.

Just plain crazy says:

it's not a vacation if you know where I am

Here is how I view vacation, I lead a small tech team of onshore and offshore developers. I also cover the production system for a small data warehouse, yea that’s an oxymoron. Anyway, after I’ve worked six to seven days a week for months on end on multiple projects, I’m entitled to a break from the office. I’m polite enough to send emails to those I work with letting them know I’ll be out of touch and who to talk to.

This being said, most of us give enough blood during our careers to pay for two or more of us. If we happen to decide to take our vacation, which is a part of your total compensation package, good for us. For those that feel they can’t be away for a week or two without the world ending, you need to examine the quality of your work. No owner wants his company’s success reliant on an individual.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hah!

“What am I supposed to do? Just say no, and drop all my responsibilities?”

Yes, that is exactly what you should do. You and the other no life losers in the world make it hard for the guys like me when I do say no.

If all you losers without lives, actually got one and told your company to fuck off then the company would situp and take notice. Unfortunately when I say no I’m a minority and so the company can tell me to fuck off and get someone just like you to fill my place.

It’s the reason I no longer work in technology it’s a soul destroying business to work in.

And yes I do have a wonderful life now and I wouldn’t trade it for yours and all the money in the world.

NeaonBHB says:

Learn what true hardship is...

This is such a silly argument. Less than 100 years ago, Americans worked 6 day weeks of 14+ hour days of backbreaking labor. The life expectancy was, what? 50 years old for men? Average pay was a staggering $1500 a year. Families had to send children to work at 8 years old because there wasnt enough money to put food on th e table.

And you elitist a$$holes are bitching because you have to answer a damn cellphone on your THREE WEEK VACATION??? Wow. And Im sorry, but the smug jerk moaning about how vacations are a right, not a priviledge, you need to experience some hardship in your life my friend. If your calming week at club-med is a “right”, then Im glad you had nothing to do with defining the rights of the people of this country.

Complaining about having to spend 5 minutes out of your golf game to answer an email or return a phone call is disgusting and a slap in the face to the REAL hard work that those that came before us did to earn you the right to such luxuries. I truly hope that your selfish behavior earns you some time on the unemployment line, so that some appreciation develops for how wonderful we really have it here.

LJSeinfeld (profile) says:

...true hardship...

NeaonBHB- After you pilot your time machine back from your Oliver Twist nightmare, you should possibly consider working your way up from serf to “elitist A*hole” status so you can better relate. Who gave you exclusive rights to the hard work that came before us?

Now back to vacation… it IS my right as it is PART OF MY COMPENSATION PACKAGE. It’s not a gift from my benevolent overlords to be taken away at their whim –and I should not be expected to feel guilty for utilizing the time.

Same thing with working extra hours when on salary…. even if you work only 4 extra hours a week it’s pretty much the same as offering a 10% discount on your time.

Ask your employer to pay you an extra 10% just because you feel like it once, and see what they have to say…

NeaonBHB says:

Oh, my bad. I didnt realize that the Great Depression never happened, and was just a figment of my overwrought imagination. Well pardon me for not giving proper references before, Ill do so now to avoid allowing any more free-handed references to stories that were written in 1838 (???? I said 100 years not 200, but whatever.)

1929 — Annual per-capita income is $750. More than half of all Americans are living below a minimum subsistence level.

pre-1930 — Until the 1930s, it was not unusual for Chicago factory or other manual workers to put in 10 hours or more a day, 6 days a week, with 12-hour days common in many industries, including steel

1908-1912 — Child labor – Heres some photos, so bear in mind the heavy amount of deaths and maimings of children in factories as you formulate your next defense of callous, selfish laziness

1920 — By the year 1920, the U.S. average life expectancy had risen to age 54.

you should possibly consider working your way up from serf to “elitist A*hole” status so you can better relate.

Are you saying Im unemployed? I dont remember gracing you with the details of my private life. Please dont pontificate on a topic you have no knowledge about.

Who gave you exclusive rights to the hard work that came before us?

Again, dont make claims with incorrect material. How does my putting into perspective the typical American laziness as compared to their forebears equal to me claiming rights to it? Since youre fond of time machine analogies, if you can get the entirety of those that came before you to say that they think its a great idea that you can completely abandon your job for extended periods of time while relaxing on the beach or getting handjobs from the natives, then I suppose that your argument holds some water.


Confusing a right with a privilege again? Yes, your employers are kind, and if they deem you so vital to the workings of the office that even your irresponsible abandoning for weeks at a time with no communication whatsoever doesnt warrant a trip to welfare, then all the more power to you. However, do not confuse this with a right, my friend. The rights endowed by your compensation package mean nothing when your position is liquified and sourced out to a hungry fresh college grad that doesnt take the opportunities affored him for granted. Like someone who shall remain nameless.

Same thing with working extra hours when on salary…. even if you work only 4 extra hours a week it’s pretty much the same as offering a 10% discount on your time.

If youre so concerned about missing the next episode of “Lost” because you were ‘forced’ to ‘torture yourself’ with a few extra hours at work one week, then theres an easy solution. I hear McDonalds is hiring, and as a purely hourly position you can be assured that every tiring hour you dedicate to your job, you will be duly compensated the requisite amount that your previously agreed upon ‘contract’ stated.

vtakhist says:


Basically it all comes down to such statement: “if you love your job you work your ass of for it (same as for example you have a hobby concerning cars you lay down and fix em 24/7 w/o time notice…and you DONT COMPLAIN BOUT IT), on the other hand if you dont like your job and it is viewd as something boring and arse tearing….obviously you stop thinking bout “how much work i should get done” and start thinking of possible ways to avoid the job at any costs…….yes you correctly guessed the easiest way to escape and still earn money from it…(at least temporarly)….VACATION”

nutcase says:

Can't let it go

Have to comment to NeaonBHB. Dude, you are seriously sadistic. So if I get this straight, we should not complain about unfair labor because after all, we used to work children to death, literally. My pay and compensation package, that I have in writiing, means nothing because my employer can replace my 16 years of technology experience and thousands of hours of free over time with a college grad? Wow, I can’t figure out if you are really that clueless with regards to highly skilled positions, or if you are simply trying to bait a reaction.

If you own a company, would you kindly tell us the name. I want to make sure my friends and I never ever apply to work there.

PhysicsGuy says:


the basis for your argument is horribly flawed. you proclaim that because people prior to the present have had to deal with hardship, that we should now sacrifice the privileges we have simply because of this? we’re also not allowed to complain when these privileges are taken away, or to note the absurd quality of the excuses from the group who thinks that people who enjoy this privilege are unethical, immoral, whatever your overall point would be?

people who deal with hardships do so in order to live on in hopes of a time without said hardships, where they and their kin don’t have to deal with the hardships they endured. they don’t continue on with the intent that once things get better that people will give up their privileges… let me ask, do you use hot water? you’re probably the type to complain about “lazy” people taking the vacation time alloted to them because people suffered hardships in the work place before, but you’re probably the first to complain when the hot water goes out and you’re forced to take a cold shower, or when something on your car goes and you’re forced to … gasp … walk, or when the batteries die in your calculator and you have to actually do computations in your head. before you reply with “i prefer cold showers as it gets me prepared for my brisk walk to work at an accountant office that bans computer and calculator use” … stop right now. you’re lying, and on the off chance that you’re not, i’m sure i could come up with countless things that you take for granted…

my overall point? well, my personal opinion is that people who can’t take a vacation from work have a detrimental psychological addiction. but as far as this post goes, just because people had to endure hardships before doesn’t mean that we should give up our privileges now. they did after all continue on through those hardships in hope of a better time.

Dog says:

NeaonBHB, “typical American laziness” in comparison to what? The vast majority of the Western world outside the US has four weeks minimum – not just by the grace of their empolyers, but as a legally mandated right. (OK, Canada might not, but they’re an exception.)

My country – New Zealand, while still first world, has a GDP per capita (PPP) closer to that of a second world nation than the United States (i.e. the average person experiences somewhat more “hardship” – an issue you seem obsessed with), and we see no need to jump on the American bandwagon of working harder and longer because it’s not progress. What’s material wealth good for if you don’t have the time to enjoy it with your loved ones?

Many people I know fuck off somewhere on vacation where their cell phones don’t work anyway. Are you saying they shouldn’t?

mousepaw says:

How about...

As usual, I’m late getting to this. I’ll likely be the last post.

Working from home? I do. Unfortunately, it’s mostly 7/24. Holidays? Not when you’re just starting out. To be fair though, I’ve been through the 60 hr work weeks and the lack of holidays (because I had nowhere to go). I used to take a “mental health day” about once every two months.

On the other hand, my Dad worked for a huge company (although it didn’t start out that way) and he was responsible for scheduling the mill. When he went on holidays, so did his schedule. He hated going back because it was such a mess!

Holidays are a double edged sword. Go away to get away from it all and you worry about how the other idiots you work with are going to treat your customers or who’s going to steal your job. (Yes, it happens.)

Brad C says:

Vacation Privilege

I have been told by one asshole boss – vacation is a company benefit that benefits the company. When and how you took vacation was considered a privilege. With that attitude, unless you are performance rated as high, forget planning in advance on getting time off. His M.O. was not to grant approval/disapproval until a week before the time you want off. That guaranteed high plane ticket cost if you flew. Forget taking a nice trip such as going overseas. A year after I left him, I celebrated by taking 3 weeks off to New Zealand – something I will never regret. I was able to plan several months ahead and was able to ge reasonable plane fare to go to NZ since the fare is already considered expensive.

C C says:

vacation is not a right is a priviledge

Society doesn’t benefit when you are on vacation. Vacation is considered an executive perk to be enjoyed by those in management. Especially now in a very tight economy. The time is to work very frustratingly hard and working smart is considered a cheap shortcut.

Also with this tight Obama economy, it is time for sacrifice for the good of Society and it is considered inappropriate to go take time off to enjoy oneself. Plus with these tight times, companies can reign in on the tomfoolery such as giving employees more freedom like not having to dress up for work, taking time off, and other useless freedoms like flex time. Time to put our noses to the grindstone and work extra hard for the good of Society.

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