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We Need a Vacation

ScooterScooter Registered User regular
edited July 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
A link stolen from fark, Americans have too much stress and too little vacation time.

Now, a study backed by Expedia.com might not be the most unbiased, but it's a fact that Europeans, Austrailans and probably a lot of other nations get a lot more vacation time. While it probably keeps our companies healthier to not have people dissappearing for a month at a time, is it worth it in general happiness? It does feel like a minor bit of pride, that Americans work harder, but then I wonder if maybe it's not just foolish. How much time do you guys get?


Me, I get nothing, as a temp agent worker who's been working just a few months. Even on days we have no work to do, I still have to come in and sit here for 8 hours if I want to get paid. Which sucks. But I'll be starting classes again in August and'll probably have a lot more free time when I'm unemployed.

Scooter on
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Posts

  • geckahngeckahn Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Europeans know whats up. They make up working less with being more productive, as a result of being generally happier and more satisfied with life.

    I lived in Sweden for a year, and everyone there gets like 5 or 6 weeks off a year. a couple of which they spend abroad in Thailand or Spain or something. It really is the shit.

    I actually saw sicko yesterday so this is something that I've been thinking about.

    geckahn on
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    Apparently Aussies work the most unpaid overtime on the planet, which is a weird one. I dunno, I can see it in some fields but definitely not others.

    The Cat on
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  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited July 2007
    The Cat wrote: »
    Apparently Aussies work the most unpaid overtime on the planet, which is a weird one. I dunno, I can see it in some fields but definitely not others.

    Are you sure that it doesn't just seem like working unpaid, what with the strength of the Aussie peso?

    Irond Will on
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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    very possible :P

    The Cat on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I haven't had a vacation since I finished college like 2 and a half years ago,,,,

    nexuscrawler on
  • HaphazardHaphazard Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    30 days of paid vacation every year, plus a whole shitload of national and regional holidays.
    Sometimes it's quite nice to live in Germany.

    Haphazard on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited July 2007
    I had five consecutive days off on the Fourth of July, but that included a weekend. So three days off. It was really nice.

    Americans really seem to be torn between the sloth of sitting in front of the TV, working long hours for secondary rewards, and a basic belief that if it's being done by the business world, it must be in everyone's best interest. As a nation, we don't seem to have a healthy concept of leisure.

    Irond Will on
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  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Speaking from personal experience... I haven't had a vacation in about 16 years. I've had "time off" to go to a wedding, get my car fixed, etc.... but never a real vacation.

    Too little money or time to do it.

    Most of the time the jobs I have worked have been complete hourly types, so no work=no pay, no such thing as vacation.
    Others have had me wait 6 months before I can even start using time off.

    Now I have vacation, but my job is very demanding, and almost no one else in my company can do it.. meaning I'm naturally restricted in being able to freely take time off.

    Other than that it's a lack of money at many times.. and since I don't get massive amounts of time off build up (6 weeks a year?! I WISH), I tend to just save it and take an extra day on a weekend here and there to get some extra sleep or just take a few days off when I need to get some things done...

    So... yeah, I'd agree.
    Most people I've known from other countries tend to talk about all the vacations/trips they take (anecdotal I know), whereas most of my friends here in the states generally only get the time to take a single week off a year to do something... the rest of the time off is eaten up doing non "work" things and just trying to keep up with life.

    EclecticGroove on
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I know the feeling my vacation time kicked in recently. however i do all the damn work here so takin offis hardly an easy option.

    nexuscrawler on
  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    I had five consecutive days off on the Fourth of July, but that included a weekend. So three days off. It was really nice.

    Americans really seem to be torn between the sloth of sitting in front of the TV, working long hours for secondary rewards, and a basic belief that if it's being done by the business world, it must be in everyone's best interest. As a nation, we don't seem to have a healthy concept of leisure.


    My liberal gut instinct at first says this is another example of American corporations having too much power, but then, corporations are run by people, and I actually wouldn't be surprised if American CEOs get less vacation time themselves than 1st-year European workers. So that might not be the case so much.

    Scooter on
  • ShmoepongShmoepong Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I can accumulate a max of 2 weeks paid vacation. And I have to use it up by the end of the year. If not, then it gets cashed out at 50% of it's value and taxed. D:

    And there's no sick leave where I work. I thought US gov't contractors were the shiznit. Apparently not mine.
    Goodbye private sector. Hello public sector!

    Shmoepong on
    I don't think I could take a class without sparring. That would be like a class without techniques. Sparring has value not only as an important (necessary) step in applying your techniques to fighting, but also because it provides a rush and feeling of elation, confidence, and joyful exhaustion that can only be matched by ... oh shit, I am describing sex again. Sorry everyone. - Epicurus
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    Scooter wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    I had five consecutive days off on the Fourth of July, but that included a weekend. So three days off. It was really nice.

    Americans really seem to be torn between the sloth of sitting in front of the TV, working long hours for secondary rewards, and a basic belief that if it's being done by the business world, it must be in everyone's best interest. As a nation, we don't seem to have a healthy concept of leisure.


    My liberal gut instinct at first says this is another example of American corporations having too much power, but then, corporations are run by people, and I actually wouldn't be surprised if American CEOs get less vacation time themselves than 1st-year European workers. So that might not be the case so much.

    I'm willing to bet that middle management takes the most time off. Mostly because they're the most useless class of workers :P

    The Cat on
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  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Shmoepong wrote: »
    I can accumulate a max of 2 weeks paid vacation. And I have to use it up by the end of the year. If not, then it gets cashed out at 50% of it's value and taxed. D:

    And there's no sick leave where I work. I thought US gov't contractors were the shiznit. Apparently not mine.
    Goodbye private sector. Hello public sector!

    Yeah, it's a growing trend that's permeated almost all major companies I've seen. You no longer get vacation and sick days, you get PTO days, which are all accumulated in one giant lump.. take a week off and then get sick the next week? Oh well, it's all PTO.

    The new (new new?) thing seems to be removing some holidays out of the "guaranteed" to the "you can choose some if you want" category... Like most things, this tends to reek of companies hoping people don't take them as time off.

    EclecticGroove on
  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I get 12 days vacation (or 2 weeks plus 2 "personal" days, which amount to the same thing). I think if I'm hear for 5 years I get another week.

    I'm lucky if I make it through June without using up all my time.

    edit: I would kill to get my sick time and vacation time all lumped into one so I could stop faking sickness to take more time off.

    Vincent Grayson on
  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Assuming it adds up to the same amount of time, PTO days seems like a better system. Why bother breaking it up if people just call in sick for vacation days, or use vacation days if they're sick and need more time?

    Scooter on
  • NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I get two weeks a year, which roll over to the next year if I don't take them, plus three "personal business days" which don't roll over to the next year. Of those, one MUST be taken the day after Thanksgiving, and depending on when certain holidays fall during the week (Christmas, Independance Day), sometimes one or both of the others is mandated as the day before / after the holiday. So they're really more floating holidays than anything. There's one guy in my office who saves up his vacation time for two or three years and then takes it all at once, visiting family in Chile. If you've got to go that far to see your family, I guess that makes sense to do it that way.

    However, my two weeks are pro-rated so I actually earn like 6 hours of vacation time per pay period or something, and then have to actually take it in increments of 8 hours (1 day). My sick days are the same way -- I can't take a half a day for like a doctor appointment. It's either all or none, so I usually just take a whole sick day those times I can't schedule the appointment on an evening or Saturday.

    On a related note, I'd like to hear how this type of thing is treated outside the US -- I cannot use my sick days for when my kid is sick. I have to use personal / vacation days if I need to take her to the doctor during working hours, or make up the time on the weekend. So, working parents (who desperately need their vacation time to start with) don't get to use as much of their vacation time for actual vacation as those who don't have kids. I'm lucky to have a healthy kid, and to be working from home, so it's only actually come up once (for her vaccinations), but for most parents, this could be a problem.

    My husband (military), gets like 30 days a year, but has to count weekends. It's still like 4-5 weeks, depending on how he sets it up.

    Nerissa on
  • geckahngeckahn Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    The vacation time deal with my company is actually really good. Like 4 weeks a year starting out, and my boss is cool with people leaving early if they need too. But one of my co-workers just got back from a 2 week vacation in alaska, and I know that's not the only vacation she's taken this year.

    So I'll have it pretty good next year.

    geckahn on
  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I get 10 vacation days (2 weeks) every year (will be 3 weeks once I have 5 years with the company) and I also get 10 days of company holidays, one of those is a floating holiday I can use whenever. I also have no limit on sick time, as long as I don't take advantage of it.

    I've never actually looked for the information, so I will probably get blasted, and rightfully so, on some things I've heard. I've heard the unemployment rates were higher in other countries compared to the US, even if they get more vacation.

    I suppose in response to the "other countries are more productive due to being less stressed or happier" it would really depend on how productive the average worker is.

    In a comparison between government sector versus private sector here in the US from people I work with who have held both types of jobs, the difference is seen in the average. In both sectors you have your top 10% of employees who are great workers and you have your bottom 10% who can get the job done but mostly take up space. However, I've been told on several occasions that the average worker, that 80% in the middle is typically more productive on average in the private sector than the government sector.

    I think that would be where the primary difference would lie between countries as well.

    I won't lie, I think having more vacation time would be nice, but in reality, I wish I could get paid for not using vacation time. Any day I take off puts me behind to the point where I need to work some extra hours just to try to stay afloat.

    Ardor on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited July 2007
    The Cat wrote: »
    I'm willing to bet that middle management takes the most time off. Mostly because they're the most useless class of workers :P

    Probably not really. In spite of the fact that a lot of the jobs are useless, they're generally extraordinarily busy what with the paperwork, bureaucratic demands, and requirement to appear involved and busy if you ever want a raise or promotion.

    I think that, in the final analysis, American decision-makers tend to reduce problems down to the point where we maximize economic efficiency. There's not really a strong counterbalace since we don't have anything approaching real worker advocacy over here, and a huge swaths of the American population are just knee-jerk supportive of any decision made by people who typify economic success. Even expansion of vacation time and/ or benefits are justified in "business" terms rather than in human concerns.

    Irond Will on
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  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Scooter wrote: »
    Assuming it adds up to the same amount of time, PTO days seems like a better system. Why bother breaking it up if people just call in sick for vacation days, or use vacation days if they're sick and need more time?

    The only problem with this is that now you are at the mercy of standard corporate vacation policies.

    So instead of starting a job and having 2 sick days then 6 months of accrual time before you get vacation, now you have to wait the 6 months (in many cases) or you go into negative vacation time (if allowed by company and approved).

    So while, in theory, PTO sounds just as good or better, many times it tends to fall short.


    However, I have no restrictions in terms of half days/full days of PTO, which is good, so I can certainly do half a day of PTO and half a day of work (or whatever combination I feel like).

    EclecticGroove on
  • geckahngeckahn Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Ardor wrote: »
    I've never actually looked for the information, so I will probably get blasted, and rightfully so, on some things I've heard. I've heard the unemployment rates were higher in other countries compared to the US, even if they get more vacation.

    Depends. Germany has pretty high unemployment, France isn't too bad. One thing to always keep in mind when comparing unemployment statistics is that European countries count prisoners as unemployed. Now over there, that only increases it by like .3 to .5%, and here it would be like a 5% jump.

    Now as far as vacation goes, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries have large amounts of vacation time, and they do not have high unemplyoment, its pretty similar to what ours is. So dont confuse vacation time as the cause of unemployment, it isnt at all.

    geckahn on
  • GorakGorak Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I went on a stag weekend to Amsterdam two years ago. Other than that, the only vacation I've had in the last 10 years has been through unemployment.

    Gorak on
  • ShmoepongShmoepong Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Nerissa wrote: »
    My husband (military), gets like 30 days a year, but has to count weekends. It's still like 4-5 weeks, depending on how he sets it up.

    Weeee! That's what I'm going for! The USAF! I'm not sure how the other services work it, but you also get the benefit of taking hops to whatever airbase you want *fo' free. And if you pay $1 you get a fantabulous box lunch to go with your cargo seating. I had my knees knocking into a pallet of tires on my last flight.

    *Free as in beer. Contingent on how many captains are in front of you, retired/active status and if the plane can fly.

    Shmoepong on
    I don't think I could take a class without sparring. That would be like a class without techniques. Sparring has value not only as an important (necessary) step in applying your techniques to fighting, but also because it provides a rush and feeling of elation, confidence, and joyful exhaustion that can only be matched by ... oh shit, I am describing sex again. Sorry everyone. - Epicurus
  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Hooray for more vacation (ugh, I mean, holiday).

    I always manage to use up all of my days and it's still not quite enough.

    My boss is really quite lax and the atmosphere in the office is really nice and friendly. We operate on the 'so long as you do your work, we don't really mind' policy, so if one of the guys needs to take 20 mins off at 4pm every day to pick up his daughter, or another saunters in half an hour late but stays half an hour late, that's okay.

    I've been allowed to leave half an hour early before so I could make a 6 pm cinema showing, and doctor's appointments are never bothersome. Having that degree of trust is really nice and it actually makes me want to work harder. No one takes advantage of our boss.

    Anyway, I get 25 days' paid holiday, but can only choose 19 of those days (the rest are Christmas hols + Tuesdays after Bank Holiday Mondays off). It's about average for the UK. I just don't understand how people can cope with less. If you're flying abroad, you need at least two weeks' off if you're flying anywhere substantial, else it's just a big waste of money. I can see a weekend trip to northern Europe happening, but I'm not flying any further unless I know it's for at least a couple of weeks.

    Janson on
  • NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Ardor wrote: »
    I won't lie, I think having more vacation time would be nice, but in reality, I wish I could get paid for not using vacation time. Any day I take off puts me behind to the point where I need to work some extra hours just to try to stay afloat.

    I think this is probably the reason for most of the people who don't actually take their available vacation time. I know trying to even schedule a long weekend for me is a pain because there's always just one more thing that absolutely HAS to be done in the next couple of days.

    Over my vacation few weeks ago, though, I was actually completely unable to be reached for a couple of days (no signal on the cell, and only at the hotel from after a late dinner until we were awake and dressed in the morning), and it was the most restful few days in recent memory. Of course, I did check in with my mom each night to see how the kids were doing, but even so, it was great to just be able to do what we wanted for a change.

    Nerissa on
  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Janson wrote: »
    I just don't understand how people can cope with less. If you're flying abroad, you need at least two weeks' off if you're flying anywhere substantial, else it's just a big waste of money. I can see a weekend trip to northern Europe happening, but I'm not flying any further unless I know it's for at least a couple of weeks.

    This is my whole issue with vacation time.

    Even driving a length of time is a pain. Going anywhere further away than an hour or two immediately means you've shaved roughly 2 days off your trip in travel time.
    Getting one full week off for me in the States is tough enough, getting 2 weeks off (even if I have the time saved up) is next to an impossible feat.

    EclecticGroove on
  • VariableVariable Mouth Congress Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I can't imagine working a full year with that little off time.

    I'm going to have to be a teacher or something.

    Variable on
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  • BamelinBamelin Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I get 3 weeks of vacation a year and 12 "personal days" which can be used for anything (sickness, mental health days, etc).

    Sometimes being a social worker really does pay, even if the salary sucks.

    Bamelin on
  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Variable wrote: »
    I can't imagine working a full year with that little off time.

    I'm going to have to be a teacher or something.

    I suppose it depends. If you're sad like me and you enjoy what you do and need to keep up so your work life isn't completely miserable, you don't use all your vacation and carry over a few days.

    I feel that if I had 4 weeks vacation and took it all every year, I wouldn't get as much done each year as I'd want to as far as work goes. Obviously I'd be doing well with my travel and family goals though.

    I was a self-employed contractor for 2 years and that worked out well. I'd work 40+ hours a week and as long as I hit the project timelines, it didn't matter what days I took off. I didn't get any paid vacation, but I could work extra hours to make up for it and not take any pay loss. That was really a fantastic gig, too bad the type of experience I wanted to put on my resume would not be achieved for much longer on that route.

    Ardor on
  • legionlegion North YorkRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I get two weeks off. And this year, I was lucky enough to spend my vacation time working full shifts at my second job instead of the shorter 4-5 hours shifts I work the rest of the year which lets me juggle my full time and part time job schedules all year round. Woo!

    legion on
  • an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I've got three weeks vacation (thanks to 5+ years at the same company) and ten sick days. The biggest problem we've had with sick days is that once a few people started using 9 of them, all on Mondays and Fridays, the boss wants to start cracking down. I imagine a lot of corporate policies revolve around people trying to take advantage of the system.

    As for vacations, I haven't taken a real one in years. One problem is that I live on an island and every concert or sporting event I go to requires two days off if it's during the week. The other main problem is that I'm the only person who can do many parts my job. If something comes up that's a big deal, I have to connect to the office and do my thing. Well, I don't have to, but that big account might cancel...

    an_alt on
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  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited July 2007
    My love of vacations is one of the reasons I will not be staying in America for very long.

    Elki on
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  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Elkamil wrote: »
    My love of vacations is one of the reasons I will not be staying in America for very long.

    And just WHY have we not gotten our itineraries in the mail as well?

    I'm so terribly disappointed.

    I'll take a house in Sweden or something as payment. :lol:

    EclecticGroove on
  • ColdredColdred Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I get 28 days (although I have to leave 4/5 days for Christmas) plus the usual bank holidays and can carry over 9 days. Some of the older folk get 32.5 days, although unfortunately they've stopped doing that for the more experienced staff. I'm useless at taking days off though, which is why I started this year with 36 days of holiday and still have 21 days left.

    Coldred on
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  • NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    an_alt wrote: »
    I've got three weeks vacation (thanks to 5+ years at the same company) and ten sick days. The biggest problem we've had with sick days is that once a few people started using 9 of them, all on Mondays and Fridays, the boss wants to start cracking down. I imagine a lot of corporate policies revolve around people trying to take advantage of the system.

    As for vacations, I haven't taken a real one in years. One problem is that I live on an island and every concert or sporting event I go to requires two days off if it's during the week. The other main problem is that I'm the only person who can do many parts my job. If something comes up that's a big deal, I have to connect to the office and do my thing. Well, I don't have to, but that big account might cancel...

    I don't tend to call in sick on days when I probably should be staying in bed... the only time I can think of that I've done that since working from home (as opposed to taking sick days for pre-scheduled things like doctor appointments, surgury, etc.) are when the doctor put me on bed rest a couple of weeks earlier than I had been anticipating taking off for munchkin's birth, and the day I woke up with a case of vertigo serious enough to send me to the emergency room since my doctor's office couldn't fit me in that day. It just doesn't occur to me to call in sick when I'm not.

    Nerissa on
  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm on the PTO system. Starting, I got 4 weeks per year, built up on a monthly basis. After a year with my organization, I get 5 weeks a year. It will increase another week after 5 years. All these days roll over. I can accumulate up to 10 weeks per year before I have to cash out my vacation days. I live in the U.S. and work in the private non-profit sector. As a result, my salary is lower than it would be working for a for-profit, but you can't beat that kind of time off.

    witch_ie on
  • muninnmuninn Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I havent had a vacation in 4 years. I am currently on a contract position, that ends at the end of this month. After that I am making my own vacation while looking for work and hopefully collecting unemployment.
    I really need this.

    muninn on
  • an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Nerissa wrote: »
    It just doesn't occur to me to call in sick when I'm not.

    Yes, but that's because you're a reasonable, normal person. From what I've picked up of your personality, you'd be a great co-worker. You know, the type that loses perks when others screw around.

    an_alt on
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  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    In my line of work you start with 4 weeks a year, then after working two years for the same employer it goes up to 6 weeks, 5 of which are technically "summer vacation" and one is for the winter. The employer doesn't have to allow more than four weeks of continuous vacation, though.

    Bliss 101 on
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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm kind of paranoid about taking time off.

    Time off means potential backlogs that can be utterly massive.

    And if we get a contract while I'm gone? OH SHIT

    Incenjucar on
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