Why Not Taking Vacation is the New Normal

Glassdoor released statistics at the end of May confirming Americans really, truly aren’t taking their vacation days. The average U.S. employee only used 54 percent of their paid time off in the last year, and 66 percent of Americans are working during their vacations, but I didn’t need a study to tell me that.

What did surprise me were the results of another study recently conducted by Project: Time Off, which found that gender has an impact on the likelihood of an employee choosing to take all of his or her vacation days. According to the study, there was an increase in millennial men’s willingness to take time off, with 51 percent saying they’d used all their vacation days, a seven percent increase from last year. Millennial women’s willingness to take vacation, however, saw a decrease: 44 percent said they’d taken full advantage of their benefit, down from 46 percent last year.

“Millennial women tend to have more pronounced guilt and feel they don’t want to burden people with their time away,” said Katie Denis, the lead researcher for Project: Time Off. “They’re more likely to identify with that ‘work martyr’ brand of thinking.”

The topic of unused vacation days is not a new one in the media, but I’ve found that what’s missing from the conversation is first-hand insight from the people to which the statistics are referring — in this case, millennial women. Where is the “work martyr” culture coming from, and why is it more prevalent than ever? If there are other factors at stake, what are they?

I decided to go straight to the source. I posted a poll on Instagram asking women to DM me if they either weren’t taking all their vacation days or weren’t fully unplugging when they did. Messages flooded my inbox.

Guilt was a common theme across responses, especially in terms of inconveniencing other coworkers. “There’s not very much redundancy where I work, and I manage my team’s interns, so I feel like I need to answer email when I’m out,” said Jessica, a 26-year-old nonprofit fundraiser working in D.C. “Otherwise I’d be a bottleneck and my interns would get confused. Every time I’ve taken PTO, I’ve come back to piles of mission-critical work that wasn’t addressed while I was out because no one else knows how to do it.”

Diane, a 25-year-old working in digital marketing in Colorado, expressed similar concerns:
“My job is extremely intense and involved (I manage social media accounts and social engagement for 60+ clients), so leaving for more than two days puts a serious strain on my other coworkers.” Diane hates that she’s turned into one of “those people.” She doesn’t want to be constantly working, but hasn’t figured how to break that habit without guilt. “I mean, my parents are here visiting this week and I couldn’t take any time off to be with them. When I do have a day off, I have to ask my husband to hide my cell phone because I can’t stop myself from checking emails.”

Ditto for 26-year-old Shelly, who works in healthcare in Houston:

“I can’t leave my work for too long without it affecting my co-workers or affecting our bottom line. I feel guilty if I take time off because I am not finishing my projects and because my work will fall on someone else. I don’t want people to see me as a slacker. Taking vacation also seems to create more stress and work for my managers.” She said she doesn’t want to cause problems or be singled out for poor attendance.

Anxiety around upsetting a manager was another widely-mentioned reason, seemingly because managers either aren’t taking vacations themselves or aren’t encouraging their subordinates to do so.

“Taking a vacation would just result in more judgment from older people I work with who believe being chained to your desk equates to working hard,” said Phoebe, a 23-year-old working in product design and trend-forecasting in Minneapolis.

Sometimes the expectations from upper management can be even more extreme: “My decision not to take off a full week in three years was due to pressure from people senior to me — women, specifically,” said Amanda, a 25-year-old investment banker working in New York City. “I definitely feel like there is extra pressure because there are so few women in banking relative to men.”

Lois, a 31-year-old working in ad/tech software in New York City said the same about her male-dominated industry:
“I feel like if I take more than a week off I will become irrelevant. I think this reaction stems from the fact that I am a woman in the tech world, and fear that if I [take time off] they would see they could manage without me.” She cited another women on her team who, while away for three weeks to be with family, is still working 30 hours a week despite being on PTO. Lois suspects she feels the same pressure. “There is such a badge of honor in this tech culture around working late, grinding, hustling, blah, blah, blah.”

One of the most interesting responses to my query came from Emily, a 29-year-old social media manager who is originally from London but now works in Connecticut for a retail company:
>“I have been working in the U.S.A. for four years now, and it’s been a big culture shock in terms of vacation policy. In London, I had 25 vacation days plus a day off for my birthday. Not only was it required to request time off, but managers actually encouraged it. It was perfectly acceptable to take two to three weeks off at a time… I once took off two weeks from my current job in the U.S. to visit my home in England, and upon returning to work I was immediately told, ‘You have no idea how much you’ve missed, I don’t even know where to begin to fill you in.’ What a welcome back!” Apparently her coworkers had expected her to check email, a concept she’d never considered. “In England, you put your out of office on and you switch off work mode entirely — it’s a vacation!”
I realize all of this is a bit bleak, and I’m not sure what the solution is, but I can pass along some advice from Man Repeller’s very own Matt Little, who in addition to being a Kesha enthusiast and our Director of Business Operations, is a human resources aficionado:

1. Recognize your agency.

Just like life relationships, work relationships require boundaries. The worth you have as an employee shouldn’t be discounted.

2. Channel your guilt.

It might seem counterintuitive to think of guilt as an asset, but let it motivate you to do thorough prep work before a vacation so as to lessen the slack that your coworkers have to pick up (and your own need to be available for questions). Put together an out-of-office plan detailing everything that needs to be done while you’re out and who is “running point” on each of your daily responsibilities.

3. Manage expectations.

Ahead of your vacation, talk to your manager about your planned availability. Will you be checking email? Will you respond to texts if it’s an “emergency?” Once you set those expectations, stick to them. If you and your manager agree you’re going to be totally unreachable for the week, don’t respond to any emails. Even if you have downtime in the airport and it’s something quick, it’s important you stick to your plans just as you expect your manager to as well.

4. Take comfort in the fact that your company almost definitely can (and will!) run without you.

Just like you were surviving before this job, the company was a company before you joined and will continue to run while you enjoy your time off. Defending your vacation isn’t personal, it’s business. Employers should ultimately recognize that balanced employees are the best employees, just like balanced breakfasts are the best breakfasts (sorry — had to).

Photos by Edith Young. 

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  • Emmie

    👏🏻 all 👏🏻 of 👏🏻 this 👏🏻

  • Hajni

    I’m always shocked when I read about the holiday policies in the States. Here in the Netherlands it’s the same as in London: you are encouraged to take out all your holidays. At my current company it’s 24 days, but at my previous job we had 27 days a year plus 3 days for when you are too hungover to come into work (I believe they cancelled this policy now that the company has grown with over 100 employees)

    • Rachel

      OMG hangover days! That’s amazing!

    • Mar

      I think in Europe it’s pretty much the same everywhere (I’m from Spain), so reading about the polices in the States shockes me too. You Americans don’t know how to vacay!! When I went to NYC on holiday in 2009, I would see people stop by deli places to get their breakfast/lunch and eat them on their way to work. This is almost non-acceptable in Spain. You get somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours for lunch (depending on the company and/or work shift), and we take days off and vacations very seriously (meaning we shut down all our devices and chill a little). It wasn’t the feeling that I got from NYC, where everyone was like work, work work, work, work.

      • Agreed. Or eating lunch at your desk… I worked in France and in the US and French people would NEVER eat lunch at their desk. They would always enjoyed their meals and didn’t like their desks to smell like their lunches.

        • Harling Ross

          so interesting.

      • Sarah

        Americans know how to vacay, it’s just corporations focus on one bottom line – profits. People often feel like (and reasonably so) that they will get passed up for promotions if they take every lunch day.

    • Basil

      Yup. I’m in the UK (married to a frenchman) and I take ALL my days. We’re also allowed to buy extra. My husband’s family members have ridiculous amounts of leave, particularly if they’ve been working somewhere for a while. I work for an international company, and work quite closely with colleagues in the US. I may take my blackberry along (and this is a recent thing) when I’m on leave, and periodically check it. For a long time it “didn’t work” outside of the country. My US colleagues – constantly responding to emails.
      I don’t think it’s healthy; you need time away from work, and for people to miss you. I also don’t know how this works with the concept of block leave – in financial services in the UK, depending on your role, you HAVE to take 2 weeks leave and you’re prohibited from checking your email / logging in. It’s a way of preventing fraud (like a Nick Leeson scenario) as they’ve found that when there have been these huge internal fraud losses, the person responsible (like in the Jerome Kerviel case) for the illegal activity didn’t take any time off, because they knew that if they handed things over the fraud would be discovered.

      • Harling Ross

        oh that is fascinating about the fraud prevention aspect

        • theysayshycity

          It’s pretty standard in trading settings. They do this in the US too actually.

        • additionalmayonnaise

          This is also true in the US, although it only applies to certain roles within financial services (i.e. Risk Mangement)

    • Harling Ross

      HANGOVER DAYS! wow

    • Adrianna

      I recently met someone from Romania who worked in Sweden, and he had a tough time understanding that 1. I only had ten days; 2. that I accrued them; 3. what “accrued” means

    • Laura Guarraci

      I moved from NYC to Amsterdam 3 years ago and it is a different world! I totally see how warped the US competition/workaholic viewpoint is now. I love the mindset of putting life before work (obviously!!)

    • ArtsDuMal

      Omg hangover policy amazing I love this

  • Abby

    I used to have a job where I felt pressured to work allllll the time (like, 12 hours was a short day) and I got the HELL out of there. Life is too short to work yourself to death.

  • ihaveacooch

    the glorification of working yourself to the bone has got to stop. i live in nyc and i see it all the time. people humblebragging about staying at the office until 10, running on 3 hours of sleep, forgetting to eat because of a deadline, not taking a vacation in years, etc etc etc. it’s kind of sick.

    • Came here to say basically this.

      Also it really rubs me the wrong way when people are like “I can’t possible leave how will things get done without meeeeee”… Either somebody will get it done, if it needs to be done, or it can wait until you get back. You are not that important. The world will not end if you take five days for yourself.

      It’s pretty self-aggrandizing to think this way.

      • Ciccollina

        I totally understand the sentiment here but some of us work for merciless bosses and are the only people in a company performing certain tasks. So yes, I have definitely panicked before holidays and worked overtime beforehand, just to make sure there are not crises, and it has nothing to do with my ego!

    • Agreed! I’m lucky because at most of my jobs I was encouraged/required to take vacation. Yeah, I’ve felt a little guilty but we’ve always managed when other coworkers go on vacation. We’re given breaks/vacations because we need them. I don’t know many people that actually work well when they’re so overworked.

    • Ciccollina

      It’s very sick, and anyone who says stuff like this to me gets this reply: “Well, I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of. You should really try to work in a more productive way and prioritise better”.

    • Paula Rodio

      It literally is. People who do this get sick. Some right away, some later…but the body knows and it doesn’t like it. It may adapt for a while but not forever.

    • Jeanie

      I went through that phase in college. Now I see it as a weakness and bad time management. It’s a total mess. Amateur move. It’s so much more impressive when someone can manage all aspects of their life properly.

  • While I have taken only 10 days off this summer, I usually take between 2 und 4 weeks of vacation. My automatic out-of-office response claims I won’t be reading any e-mails till I am back and I don’t. I also have my phone in flight mode most of the time and frankly, dears, I don’t care. I have been doing this for 14 years now and have survived (as a freelancer) quite well, though not amassed any riches.

    This year I plan on taking a second vacation (a week in the fall) … It does wonders for one’s productivity, away time does.

    • Aydan

      I agree! I typically travel (and especially do so when I’m out of country) without any notifications on my devices from work (as in I actually delete the email from my phone). I’m taking a short vacation at the end of the month and have a report being published by my company so I’ve made it clear I will only check on edits for that but will do NO other work while I am gone! Boundaries and communicating them effectively is important and imperative!

  • Jules

    I mean I can kind of understand if you’re super passionate about your career and you wanna keep climbing up that ladder but seriously.. whats the point of all that hard work and money if you can’t take some time to enjoy it????? idk seems unsustainable

  • I grew up in a French household and going to a French school in the US so we would get tons of vacation throughout the year. The French usually take a month off in the summer so I would always go with my mom for a long time and my dad could only join for max 10 days which was so much for Americans and so little for French people!

    I think Americans are definitely overworked and overstressed and probably need vacation more than anyone else. But now with technology we’re expected to be always on, even when we shouldn’t be 🙁

  • Kristie

    American living in Europe here, and I’ll echo all the Europeans and say that here in Germany my German Millennial colleagues are very secure in telling bosses they will not be checking e-mail (and the majority wouldn’t ask them to) and pretty much everyone will back you up on that. Strong workers’ unions for the win!

  • jdhammer

    At the end of the day, your vacation days are a part of your contract. Not taking them is like giving back your salary to the company. It’s not a perk, it’s the deal you made when you were hired. No guilt required.

    • Harling Ross

      good way of looking at it

    • Mo

      Matter of fact AF. I like it.

    • Adrianna

      It’s the same when people don’t take their lunch break. You’ve basically worked 6 days for no pay if you skip your lunch every day for a year.

    • Ciccollina

      Question – in the USA, when you leave a job, do they pay out your annual leave? In Australia, even if you get fired, you get paid for the days of annual leave that you didn’t take. Often people don’t take holidays for a few years then resign and get a large sum of money that they can use on their holiday, so they take holidays in between jobs. What’s the system in America? Just curious 🙂

      • jdhammer

        In my experience, it depends on the company – I don’t think America has any laws governing it. Most large companies will pay out, but I’ve seen smaller ones refuse. Then your only recourse is small claims court which most people won’t bother with.

        • Ciccollina

          That sucks. I feel sorry for Americans when it comes to this stuff, you guys seem to have no rights. In Australia we get 4 weeks paid leave per year minimum, 10 paid sick days per year and heaps of other benefits that are government regulated. You also can’t get fired willy-nilly like you can in the US (I could be wrong about Americans getting fired all the time though, that’s just what it looks like from the outside). Take that leave ladies!

    • Bee

      This is exactly the point I always make. Also agree with Adrianna below that not taking a lunch break is the same thing.

      • MelanieYvette


  • I have to wonder if the economy is a factor as well. So many companies are doing the same amount or more work with less people, which puts a lot of strain on employees.

  • These comments are making me want to move to Europe tomorrow. Last year, I took about ~10 vacation days and I ended up getting kind of in trouble for it, because we’re only allowed 5. Then my boss put a cap on me taking any more time off and I haven’t been able to take any days off since until I’ve accrued enough vacation hours to do so…. good news is I’m FINALLY out of the negative so I can go be in a wedding… lol.

    I know I shouldn’t complain because I have it much better than many many people but… we also gotta live our lives!

    • Res

      5 days! That’s horrid. For real people, life is about more than work, get out there and enjoy.

      • gracesface

        Yea we have 5 days plus 4 days that you accrue ONLY if you show up for all of your shifts on time and don’t miss a day unscheduled. So you either meet those requirements and get a PTO day every 3 months or you just push it further and further away. For as much as I like my company and co-workers, the work practices are WAAYY behind the times. Also no HR and no 401(k). But I like it there and I’ve worked my ass off and been rewarded w/ responsibility and I’m just really proud of that. Sorry, rambling!!

        • Res

          I totally get that people want to build a career and are willing to work hard for it, and you should be proud of it! It’s a wider cultural shift that needs to happen in the US, how long can people realistically keep going at that pace?

          As a Scandinavian I’m used to quite generous holiday allowances, and having lived in London for over a decade, although I sometimes struggled with what was in my opinion a very work-centred lifestyle, at least as was mentioned by other people, holidays were always respected. I’ve also definitely seen a shift in London in the last decade where I think people are waking up to the fact that life is about more than work, in general the attitudes around working yourself to the bone are shifting a bit. (Just a bit though, large metropolitan cities will always be career focused, which is why they attract young, ambitious people)

          I think (thought) it is widely acknowledged these days that employees are at their most productive when there is time to recharge. That’s why I think I’m finding this so difficult to comprehend. Five days off a year would absolutely kill me, had I had that when living abroad it wouldn’t even have given me any time at all to fly home and see my family! Such a sad life that would have been.

          • gracesface

            Thanks for your insight. I’ve long admired the way Scandinavian counties operate and I really hope to visit one day. London too. I guess I’m moreso going through a PERSONAL experience of well, really wanting to work? Enjoying the acheivement? Crossing things off my list? And some of that means working hard and playing hard and working a lot, as a result. I’m not saying I don’t want more vacation time or that I don’t think our company has an antiquated police (cause it does) but that it’s okay, for me, right now in my life. I live in a pretty laid back, chill city tbh. Also I truthfully do a lot of recharging after work – I never take work home with me, I shut off work mode when I leave at 3 pm (I LOVE working 7 to 3), I like my co-workers, I have a walking commute. I’ve got it pretty good right now. And taking some time off at the end of the month! Thanks for writing me, Res. 🙂

  • Alison

    Great podcast on NPR this week. HR professionals and academic researchers talk about taking time off so that you return ready to do good work. http://the1a.org/shows/2017-08-09/a-working-vacation-for-americans-is-there-any-other-kind.

    The pace of social media and client demands can make us think that we can’t get away. But vacation is important. We’re human beings!

  • amcrni

    Maybe I’m in the minority but I really do try to take advantage of the PTO time my company gives us. I see others not really do that, but I’d be so miserable if I was so invested in work work work work all the time. I’m the only graphic designer at my company so I just make sure to tackle any obvious, deadline-heavy projects before I go anywhere. I’ve never been gone longer than a work-week and nothing detrimental has happened. I think it’s important to turn off your work brain and recharge. When I’m “out of the office,” I really mean it.

    • dinoceros

      Me too. I take every single day I get. No one at my office cares. One of my bosses praised me for being able to plan so well that I got to take them all.

  • Mo

    There’s an idea of always being behind, or never quite leaving at the right time. Planning for a down time feels rigid to me – as if my time to relax is being forced and must occur in the time slots I decided upon weeks or months ago. it feels far and it feels limited. My projects have a way of overlapping each other in a work environment that feels demanding because it encompasses so much of our time. The rigid work week makes me, as a creative, feel more inclined to find my way in and out of the office as a means of shedding the system rather than effectively planning my releases dates – which is ultimately more productive. Instead I reward myself with sloppy spontaneity using my personal days as mental health days or errand days rather than grouped getaways. Because the release feels so wrong and so good, but then dissipates when the day goes.

  • Emily

    Ok so technically I’m still an intern… but honestly what is a vacation. I recently went out of the city for a WEEKEND and had an interview on the Monday following. My supervisor assigned me a huge task that I had to work on every single day, Friday night through Monday afternoon when I got back into the office. And this was just on a normal weekend, in an internship. I think this is a particularly bad problem in NYC. In SF, I never really took work home– here, working after work is the norm. I like to think it’s because we/I love our careers? But maybe we are just a city of workaholics with boundary problems…

    • ihaveacooch

      totally. there needs to be a lined drawn but the line is so blurred in big cities. i also find that people kind of get off on this “work work work nonstop work” culture; people try to one-up each other on how much they worked this week or on any particular day.

  • Bo

    So timely! I got hauled into my managers office and was told by my regional director that I simply *had* to book more annual leave. Turns out I had close to 2 months’ worth accrued and it was becoming a financial liability for HR! I had to sign an excess leave amangement plan and everything. This is in Australia btw – in my sector our leave doesn’t reset every year just builds up over time. I would take leave more often but the woman who I share an office with just gripes about it constantly as soon as I tell her I’ve booked some, and complains about how much work she’ll have to do in my stead (reality: my manager arranges for somebody to come in and do the bulk of my work whilst I’m gone so I’m the impact on her is minimal). In my old role, where managers were ineffective and union bullies ruled the roost, it was the same thing. I was always the “young lazy slacker” for taking three weeks off during exam time at uni – but other people took four trips to Bali a year and nobody batted an eyelid!

  • jiggahava

    I took a two week vacation with no guilt. At my job we have “blackout period” every two months, and no one can take vacation until the blackout is over (barring sick days, of course). And the second the blackout period is over EVERYONE rushes to take a vacation.

  • theysayshycity

    I’m lucky in that most of my clients are European…they vanish in August and December, so we get to as well. Before I joined a mostly Euro-facing team though, it was hell…definitely different expectations. I had a hard time getting time off for a necessary medical procedure, I seriously almost quit.

  • gracesface

    As an hourly employee, vacation time is pretty much non-existant until you’ve been here at year, after which you get 40 hours worth (or 5 days) plus an anniversary day. You get 11 days the second year. Otherwise we can accrue (4) PTO days throughout the year. I’ve been at this company for 9 months and I have not missed an assigned shift or been late to work once. By the end of September I will have taken 5 approved unpaid days – one for my wedding, one for a trip, and two for a second trip coming up. Attendance at our company is abysmal and many people call out at least once a week. I don’t know when I’ll secure a contract job or have a full 14 days off. I spent a lot of the last two years not working, in part-time jobs, or internships where time off was more easily received but pay was lower. Our company doesn’t even have sick time! But right now I’m putting in the time and the hustle (and working weekends the next 2 months) so that in a few years I can leverage my experience into a better paying job (and salary increase). Something I could never have imagined a few years ago. Just wanted to share my experience, I’ll be reading the comments!!

  • Sq

    This is interesting. In London where I live Its expected that everyone takes an hour for lunch (what we’re entitled to) and all employers I’ve ever worked for in my field (Higher Education) require you to take all your leave days before the end of the leave year, and you can carry a maximum of five over into the next leave year, the same as back in New Zealand where I’m from.

  • Sarah

    I think that the guilt many of these women feel is not just all in their heads. My friend works at the headquarters for a large, international bank in DC. Her supervisor gets upset every time one of her coworkers takes off and will make passive aggressive comments about how it has slowed down her progress. I think a lot of women (and men) have guilt thrust upon them by managers or co-workers for taking time off and are made to feel shameful of it.

    • been there before and bottom line is, your friend is being bullied by a sucky, passive aggressive boss. and unfortunately, our society kind of goes along with it, but if that boss was “guilting” her into writing a $2,500 check back tot he company out of her salary every year, everyone would lose their mind. somehow with time/PTO it is seen as okay to do. not okay. i got out of that situation and landed an amazing job at a company that gives unlimited PTO. i’d tell your friend to get out too.

  • Cordelia

    Also no energy to plan vacations and no extra money. So. Much. Stress. It’s easier just to work until something miraculous happens.

  • Ciccollina

    I took a day off on either side of a long weekend once, two days in total. I got sick on the flight back and could not come to work the next day – that makes three days. My boss took me aside and said “I’m not saying I don’t believe you were sick, but it doesn’t look good, and you are letting us down taking all these days off”. I cried for hours after work. I had suffered intense gastro on the flight home, was on the toilet all day the next day, and had dragged myself into work the next day to get stuff done that I knew needed doing, only to be accused of taking “too much” time off. It was the only holiday I had in the 18 months I was there and he ruined it for me. So upsetting. I don’t take leave anymore and go into work sick in order to be sent home rather than calling in and being disbelieved.

    Also….total side-note – Harling, did you steal Haley’s Oxford commas/risk taker line? I would have sworn that she you used to say that!

  • Paola

    living and working in nyc one day is still something I dream of, but then I think about healthcare, holidays, parental leave – especially when compared to western Europe…I guess it comes down to whether people work to live or live to work.

  • Jessica

    I get 3 paid vacation weeks a year and I tend to not use them all up, but that is because I can carry them over. So I tend to hoard them for something special. I’m not sure what that something special is, but I want to know they are there when it reveals itself. I guess its because I’m trying to start a family and i think they will be more useful when I have kids. I should say my work offers great work-life balance, so not using them is not due to pressure at work at all. In fact, we are encouraged all the time to remember to take vacation. Also, I work 10 hour days 4 days a week rather than the usual 5 day 8 hour, so pretty much every weekend for me is a long weekend, which goes toward not feeling like I need vacation.

  • belle

    Usually planning ahead and delegating can put you in a good spot to take your PTO guilt-free. Obviously this isn’t true for all careers (delivering babies, for instance) but in general if you are doing things right you should be able to take vacation without the world falling apart. Even if you don’t care about your holiday, what happens if/when something terrible happens (family emergency, etc) and you HAVE to be out? This happened to us just yesterday – one of my colleagues had a relative pass away unexpectedly and will be out for a few weeks, and we have a huge meeting Monday. Luckily we are organized and were able to redistribute the workload to make it happen, and already have a plan for the weeks ahead that will allow our project to continue on schedule and give my colleague the time required to grieve. Like, the social media manager who can’t leave work for one day to be with her family…what is going on? It sounds harsh, but unless someone’s life is on the line you should aim to get your shit together and take your time off. It is literally what you signed up for.

  • Jeanie

    It’s true that taking vacation can mean more work for you coworkers, but that burden is shared so we all can take vacations. It all evens out. You can always plan it out ahead of time too and get more done before you leave. I try to be courteous and inform my manager at least a month ahead of time. Use your sick days too when you need them. People respect you when you value your time and your needs. I find that my bosses notice good quality work more than busyness anyway.

  • Anne

    Okay, so I’m from Denmark, and here everybody (!) gets 5 weeks of paid vacation, and an extra week’s “days-off” if you need to be somewhere important, like a funeral, child’s birthday or such (or not, no one checks). Besides THAT parents get a valid day-off the first one or two days their children are sick, and senior citizens also get 3-5 days a year as “senior days”. Just really appreciating the opportunity to actually live a life, and would very much wish the same thing for everybody else around <3

  • Natty

    I work in banking as well and I am trying to BE THE CHANGE in this industry notorious for workaholism. I told my boss when I was hired that I plan on using all my vacation days, every year, and then some. I openly and proudly talk about my days off and what fun things I did, which cool places I visited. I send photos to my team when I get back from trips and tell clients about my adventures as well. My “work hard play hard” mantra has caught on, and now I notice that my coworkers and managers do the same thing when they go on holiday. So don’t let yourselves be victims– All it takes is one person to make a change.

    • love this! i manage 12 people directly and 100 in total on the property i run. i try to set the example from the top and i am quite vocal about vacation time, but also taking time off for family needs (especially as i am a parent to young kids) and mental health days. i always manage my salaried employees by their work output, never butt-in-seat. the more we can be PROUD of taking time (and still having our shit together!) and NOT GUILTY for that, the better for everyone.