Fear of Vacation

Afraid of Diving into That Vacation?

Many Americans equate getting away with getting in deep with the office sharks. They say this while they are drowning in work. A GSK study (Overwhelmed America: Why Don’t We Use Our Paid Time Off?, 2017) says almost 3 out of every four workers say they are stressed at work, with one in four reporting they are “very’ or “extremely” stressed. They study explains, “while 96% of respondents recognized the importance of using time off, there are still 41% of Americans who do not plan on using all of their vacation days in 2014.”  America: The Go-Go’s would be appalled!

Project Time Off

Project: Time Off (Stats: American Workers Take Average of 16.8 Vacation Days in 2016, 2017) says last year 662 million vacation days were left on the table, four million days more than 2015. Project: Time Off (wouldn’t it sound like fun to work for them?) says:

The average American took:

  • 16 days’ vacation in 2016 (up slightly from 2015)
  • 20 days’ vacation in the years up to 2000

Travel Agent Central (another company I would like to work for) says men were more likely than women to use all their vacation in 2016. Millennial women, who despite being more fervent believers in the benefits of time off than their male counterparts, take less time off (44% Millennial women vs. 51% Millennial men) due to an overwhelming amount of reported guilt, fear, and work martyr habits.


Why vacation days are left on the table:

  • 26% say taking time off makes them look less dedicated
  • 23% say they don’t want to be seen as replaceable
  • 21% say they would lose out on a raise or promotion

Other reasons include:

  • Fear of returning to a mountain of worry and work
  • No one else can do my job
  • Taking time off is harder as you are promoted


Rewarded for Sacrificing Time Off?

Do those who work more and sacrifice their vacation days get promoted more often and make more money? The numbers don’t reflect the money for martyrdom philosophy.  Among those who forfeited vacations, 23% were promoted as compared to the 27% percent of those who rose on the ladder and took vacations. As for fattening the wallet, 84% of those who took vacations received a raise or bonus while 78% of those who forfeited vacations got an increase in greenbacks. The vacation bottom line: Employees who take 10 or fewer days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.

vacation snorkeling

scuba time off vacationIt is never too late to take Belinda Carlisle’s advice and exclaim “Vacation, all I ever wanted!” By the way, that is me in the 1980’s taking time off to scuba and learning that the sharks in the water who might take a bite out of me were more frightening than the sharks in the boardroom who might take a bite out of my vacation.