So you don’t have the time or money to take a summer vacation this year? Don’t feel left behind— you have plenty of company back at home. Given the complexities of the economy and our personal lives, it is no wonder that more of us are choosing to just work through the summer and are skipping vacations.
Naturally, for those with families, much of your daily life centers upon the needs and activities of your children. Unlike in generations past, it is common for grade school children to go to school year round, in a college-type format. Who wants to take a vacation without their kids, even if they could afford the caretaking to enable them to do so? Ironically, like what some parents did when they were in school, regarding vacations, they are skipping.
Sadly, this is not even a consideration for most people. They find it is not as much a matter of managing to take a vacation with the kids, as it is of trying to support their kids continually. For a variety of reasons, most people feel that they simply cannot take off from work for any extended period— even a week, whether they have kids or not.
According to Kelton Research in a survey for Radisson, published in USA Today on May 19, 2014, of 1000 people aged 18 and over (yes, that’s down to the age of 18), “almost half are not taking vacation time.” That’s right, nearly half of the people questioned are not taking any vacation time at all.
Many respondents cited “workload and reluctance to catch up.” Once we can afford the pleasure of taking time off and doing only what we want, we find that we have second thoughts about doing so because of the backlog of work that will be waiting for us when we return. There is also the related issue of appearing to be uncommitted to “the team”, and being a slacker for letting this backlog accumulate. In a telling effort to try to balance the demands of business with the needs of their families, “63% bring family along on business trips”. It is an all-too-common experience for children to find their parents spending part of their vacation checking emails and cell phones.
It is not surprising that the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in a study published by CNN, found that the U.S., among the world’s “advanced nations,” is the only one that guarantees employees no annual paid vacation. Contrast this with Germany, regarded worldwide as one of the most productive and innovative industrialized nations. Most German employees take three consecutive weeks off in August— almost a national vacation— these days off being ensured by their employers. Moreover, in Sweden, which is widely found to be the second most productive of industrialized societies (the U.S. ranking fourth), a minimum of five weeks is taken off with pay.
America is a great nation— few will deny this. Still, there are things that anyone can improve on, and maybe for us, one is to take more time off to enjoy being American. We will only be more creative and productive for it, and enjoy doing it that much more. What are you planning for this summer?