How many vacation days do you get a year? How many sick days do you use as vacation days, hmmm? Are you of the M.O. – “if the leave is there, take it” or do you feel guilty when you take vacation days every other month?
I need someone to set me straight. Fair warning, this is gearing up to be a “soapbox” post. However, first thing is first, a little background on this author du’jour. (Hey, thanks for not disagreeing with that last sentence!) I work a lot of overtime and even though I love this great nation of ours, I’m middle class in the tax bracket of life. So, guess what happens when you make too much overtime in the middle class club? You get a reverse paycheck. Yup, we all want one of those…NOT! Hence, I tend to accumulate a lot of compensation time. For those of you erudite and opinionated in the legalities of comp time vs. overtime, save it. This is my soapbox, go write your own blog. :p
We don’t have a large savings because we do have a mortgage, cars, and a lot of vacations are taken and passions are realized and fulfilled. (It’s our honey, we bees do what we want in our hive, WORD!) However, I sometimes feel a little sheepish when requesting that leave, again…and again…and oh, look! Alaska Airlines is having a fare sale!!!…and again. I obviously work hard and should naturally reward myself. So, where does the walk of shame-feeling come from when returning from another whirlwind vacation?
Is it a cultural difference? My parents always taught me to work hard so that I achieve the American Dream. The Dream is mainly about owning a lot of stuff—a car, a big house, gadgets, and so on. My employment has taken me all over the world and exposed me to what’s important in other cultures. Take the German Dream; it’s about living securely with your family. Or consider Dutchmen and Danes who are fine without a car. The thing is, the American Dream requires more money, and so more hours at the office. Clearly, taking more than two vacations a year means delaying growth and success both personally and financially. Right?
I guess this boils down to perception. According to The American Progress on the topic of work and family life balance, “in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.” More people are putting in longer hours to achieve The Dream. So, if you’re spending a lot of time on vacation, you’re a slacker because what red, white, and brown American does this? Who takes vacations every chance they get? Who would willingly not run the race and instead have a whiskey at the bar while watching other contenders contend in the daily grind? I guess this girl does. I do this because I’m fortunate enough to be able to. My personal and work support systems are awesomely understanding. I do this because my Dream is to finish this life without regrets. If that makes me a slacker, then so be it.
Hey, thanks for reading this and being my virtual therapist. Be honest with yourself and tell me what your Dream is. What do you find important? Do you agree or disagree that it’s a cultural stigma? Are you with my Hive or are you at the other end of the nectar and pollen spectrum concerning inter-office perception of slackism?
Much love and aloha,
your wanderlusting clueless wanderer