We really need to adopt a healthier attitude towards vacations and rest. I have noticed among my friends (with the exception of a very small group of people who either work for themselves or have phenomenally comfortable relationships with their bosses) that vacations are a rare, rare thing. While I realise that how easily you can get away depends on your industry and rank, it still appears to be such a Nigerian phenomenon to work all the hours the good Lord gives with little time for rest. It is incredibly hard to squeeze out a few days of rest for yourself.
In some companies, vacation time is allocated to you. Employees take their vacation in shifts with Miss A in January, Mr. D in July, Ms. F in September and Mr. Z in December. Hmmm, while I see how problems can occur if you have all your staff going off on holiday at the same time, I definitely don’t want to be forced to go on holiday when I don’t want to (though the thought of anyone having to force me to go on holiday is hilarious).
I sent an email to an American colleague today and received an Out of Office auto-response saying that he was taking a vacation day. This brought back sweet memories of being able to take vac days – not because I was going out of town, but just because I was entitled to them. I used them to run errands and get all sorts of personal business done. I also took vac days when I really needed to stay home and cook or clean. I used my sick days to recover from too many late nights up.
Sigh! I knew when I left my former cosy job that those conveniences would become a thing of the past. I didn’t bargain for how much to the other end of the spectrum I would be thrown, though.