In France, the employed are able to take a month off for vacation. It is a law that all French full-time workers receive five weeks of vacation time. I first heard this in high school French class and I was shocked. Americans have a long standing history of favoring work over personal life. This is a tradition sewed into our founding fabric – if you work hard enough, your American dream will come true.
The U.S. Travel Association reported that in 2014, $52.4 billion in paid vacation time was left untouched in the American workforce. Americans are so afraid to take their given vacation time that there is billions of dollars left unused in companies across the country. It seems that even when we are on vacation, or even off for the day, we are constantly checking our email and making phone calls.
MORE ON EMAIL AND WORKING CONSTANT WORK COMMUNICATION HERE
When do we decide we need a personal life, a time away from work? Do we risk our boss questioning our work ethic for a weekend at the beach or a day off to chaperone our child’s field trip?
This is a simple answer: what makes you happy? If your family is the most important aspect of your life, you should find a job where your boss also values family life. If your career and work is your passion, you should find a job where you are able to work and contribute at any time of the day.
There is a need for a break from work life, even if your career is all you need to be happy. This can be productive and used to further your career. Traveling can expand your creativity at work. Volunteering can expose you to different communities and viewpoints. A life outside of work not only gives you a time to destress, but it brings outside creativity to your job. This can help you connect with others and inspire a new approach to a project.
Reviewed by Krista Kull