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Why Johnny can’t think…

… he doesn’t have TIME! :-)

The United States, which has been called the “no vacation nation,” falls behind most other developed countries when it comes to vacation days. (It takes a lot of work to support the 1% of the population who have experienced any real growth in income over the last 30 years.) American workers don’t seem to mind. Most workers don’t use all of their earned vacation days!

Most American workers are stupid. I was, too! :-)

Around 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of the year 2011, and most left an average of 11 days unused! These 11 days represent nearly 70% of their time off, according to a study performed by Harris Interactive for JetBlue. One of the biggest reasons for “skipping” vacation is that workers felt they had too much work, according to a survey by Kelton Research. Companies cut back on the number of employees during the recession, leaving a smaller number of employees to do the same or more work! Employees who saw their work loads build up during that time feel that they can’t afford to take time off.

Employers certainly aren’t complaining. Separate data from financial information company Sageworks shows profits-per-employee are at a 10-year high. Could workers cramming in more hours be a factor? Yes, says Libby Bierman, a Sageworks analyst.

“We don’t have exact information on why profits increased, but I think it’s safe to say it’s a combination of people spending more time at work and technological advancements,” she said.

A bar graph in the article tells it all – the number of paid vacation days that companies are REQUIRED to provide an employee with 10 years of service:

  • United Kingdom – 28 days
  • France – 25 days
  • Greece – 25 days
  • Germany – 20 days
  • Japan – 20 days
  • Mexico – 16 days
  • China – 10 days
  • United States – 0 days

Some American workers don’t like the feeling of being buried in work.

“I don’t really have a back-up for my job,” said Kyra Mancine, a catalog copywriter in Rochester, N.Y. “I worry that if I’m gone for an extended vacation, the work won’t get done and I’ll come back to a huge pile-up of projects. I hate coming back to hundreds of emails.”

Some 20% of workers said that they could not afford to travel. I understand that feeling, too!

Around 9% of survey respondents said that they were afraid to take time off in an unstable job market, which is not at all surprising when the official unemployment rate is above 8% and the REAL unemployment rate, counting people who are too discouraged to look for work, is MUCH higher than that!

However, I suspect that the REAL reason for their fear is that they are quite certain, as I was, that many folks in management are stupid enough to lay them off an dump their work on the remaining employees!

In high tech, we used to say that there was only ONE thing WORSE than getting laid off… NOT getting laid off! 😉 I lived through a couple of situations like that.

“Unlike most other developed countries, U.S. law doesn’t require companies to offer paid vacation time to their employees.” Perhaps, we could substitute the word “civilized” for “developed.” Why? Too many Republicans in government…? :-) Don’t get me wrong…if you are in the top 1% of income earners, I think that voting for Republicans makes perfect sense.

Not that the Democrats are much better for the remaining 99% of us….

Laugh about it. Shout about it. When you’ve got to choose… every way you look at it, you lose.” (YouTube) – Simon and Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson

Just life in “America” (YouTube)…. – Simon and Garfunkel

-Bill at

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