Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary adds trendy new words or phrases to keep up with the times. Seems they need to add “vacation-shaming” to the list since it is having quite the impact on people’s leisure time. Never heard of vacation-shaming? Consider yourself lucky and enjoy the time off your employer has given you. The rest of you, read on and see how to break out of that mind-set.
Us non-millennials remember vacations differently, no rush to get anywhere and the fun of the drive. Like the time my parents took us (three of us at this point, including my sister who was around one) for a cross country drive. Not just any drive, it was a drive in a VW Bus that we camped in along the way. Where are those days now? Today people rush to the airport, some still in their pajamas (something I still don’t understand), I remember the days when you dressed up for a flight. Our sons tell me, years later, that they remember me putting them in a suit for their first flight from Chicago to LA, and they remember eating a real meal in coach off china plates! The driving vacation continued with our sons as we drove to Florida, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and many other places. That was family time. Back then we didn’t have cell phones for our bosses to find us or laptops for work to be done.
Now we are trying to plan trips around work events and large corporate meetings. We ask if there is work that will need to be done or is there something I need to bring in case there is an issue at work? We have even incorporated meeting each other during work trips for a quick weekend for a way to just get some vacation in. Do you have vacation shaming at your office? The 2017 Alamo Vacation Survey found that “Around half of American Workers have felt vacation shamed. Of these workers forty-nine percent have felt vacation shamed – being made to feel a sense of shame or guilt by co-workers, their supervisor or their employer for taking time off to go on vacation. I know I have felt this in a few different ways to the point of canceling a vacation due to consistent prodding on where I was going, when would I be back and did I have internet access where I was going so I could “work”. Simply meeting up with the other Main Street Moms at Disney can be an exercise in futility since I’ve had to cancel due a few times due to work. Part of the reason that less than half of workers are using all of their paid vacation days could be from vacation shaming. In order to get in some vacation, we have met one of our sons on one of his work trips in order to see him. Also my husband and I have met each other at our work trips end in order to have a few days together, but that also sometimes includes work during those times too.
I think I am going to start putting my foot down and make my vacations just as important as work! I have started planning a trip to take my mom away in November, she had been the caregiver for our dad for many years and he recently passed away. We figured it’s mom’s time to get out and see some things and we are going to enjoy it with her. I have already put my days in at work and told them I am not moving them around! Can we go back to the days of the excitement of getting in the car and diving off to our destination?
My childhood vacations were similar to Judy’s. Every August, my family would pack up the camper and hit the road for three or four weeks. We talked, made “friends on the CB (anyone else remember that?), played car games, and saw almost all of the United States. When I started my career and only had a week or two of vacation, I appreciated that little time to relax and unwind and never missed taking those days. I expected my co-workers to cover me as I would do for them. After all, we were a team.
When I got married and our little family grew, taking vacation was a priority. Keeping tradition alive, we strapped the little’s in the minivan and hit the road. My husband and I both understood the importance of time away from reality and showing the kids more than the back yard. But, as the years passed and technology advanced, my husband’s laptop started showing up on trips. He was expected to check in even though we were on vacation.
To complicate things even further, we have started vacationing with 3 generations. It becomes quite the feat requesting (begging) and having vacation days granted all at the same time. We actually have to plan over a year in advance to coordinate days, and sometimes it comes with bargaining. Promising to Skype in for a meeting, or doing up a proposal from on the road. It takes a determined mind-set to not let these obstacles stop us from going. But after jumping through all the hoops it has never been more evident that we EARNED every bit of our vacation time and no amount of shaming will change that. On a side note, employers tend to leave you alone more often if you are on a cruise. Seems they don’t want to pay those inflated Wi-Fi costs.
According to Alamo’s recent survey on Family Vacations, almost half of American workers have felt vacation shamed. What’s even more troubling is for the first time, the Alamo Family Vacation Survey results show that less than half (47 percent) of workers who receive paid vacation use all of their vacation days. Sure, there are those who may need the days off to work on their house or care for a family member, but for the rest of you, you’ve earned it so what are you waiting for?
Alamo has launched The Scenic Route, a website perfect to get your vacation plans moving in the right direction. The site is chock full of vacation ideas, tips, advice, and true-life “been there, done that” stories sharing the good, the bad, and the humorous experiences vacations can give us.
Whether you can take a few weeks or only a few days, remember you’ve earned the time and there’s no shame in taking it. Now get going and create some memories!
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” -Seneca
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” -St. Augustine
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