Why don’t you take more vacations?

A photo of the Getty Villa's garden from my vacation to Los Angeles in March.

A photo of the Getty Villa’s garden from my vacation to Los Angeles in March.

When you get down to it, people work to earn money.

There are other reasons too — self-fulfillment, a love of the work — but most people have a job in order to make money so they can support themselves and possibly their families, and during their off-hours, have fun, sometimes with said families.

So why is it if Americans are given paid vacation days, six out of 10 only take some of it? Last year, just a quarter took all of their vacation, while 15 percent took none of it, according to employment website Glassdoor. (I’m in the 25 percent who took all of their vacation days.)

This is just one survey, but it follows a trend that Americans rarely take all of their vacation days. As I means of comparison, we don’t take many more vacation days than people in Japan and South Korea — two countries we stereotypically think of as overworked.

A host of benefits are associated with taking vacation — less depression, more time to think of innovative ideas, supporting tourism and therefore the economy. Also, remember the reason people work: money to support their lifestyle and to have fun during their free time. So it’s puzzling that Americans refuse free time in order to do just that. Is it just that Europeans are right and Americans are workaholics?

I think people get nervous. If you leave for a week and your employer sees that the workplace is still running smoothly in your absence, won’t the employer get the idea that you’re not valuable to the organization? And doesn’t it show that you’re not serious about your job if you take time away from it?

When knowing the benefits of vacation, you see that your job performance would likely improve if you took that trip to Florida. You would feel happier and have some time away from the daily grind to think of new ideas for your job. But some Americans don’t see it that way. That’s one reason why three out of four people take some or none of their vacation days.

How many of your vacations days did you take last year? Were you even allotted any (as about one-fifth of employees surveyed aren’t)?

I say: Do your part. Help yourself and your company. Take that vacation.


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