Vacation Days: Why You Need To Use Them… NOW!

 In Company Culture/People At Work

Vacation Days: Why You Need To Use Them… NOW!Last week, I took some time away from work for a mini digital vacation.

My husband and I headed to Tucson, Arizona to get some sun (Oregon winters are notoriously gray) and get in some hiking.

It was indeed delightful getting outside and not being bundled up in multiple layers.  In fact, by mid-day, we were both in shirt sleeves and perspiring in the radiant heat and unrelenting Arizona sun beating down in the desert canyons.

Sure, as a business owner, I was worried about the emails piling up.

The urgent requests.

The client expectations.

Everyone feels pressure when we step away from the desk and into vacation mode.

But here’s why you have to get out of the office:  Getting away from the office is CRITICAL to not only keeping a work-life balance in perspective, but also reacquainting yourself with the fun stuff in life.

Too many Americans are NOT taking vacation time, citing concerns about falling behind at work, or even worse, fear of not “staying in the loop” within a still unsteady economy where layoffs are still taking place.  In fact, the Society of Human Resource Management recently reported in their HR Magazine that most Americans fail to “take all of their vacation days, which can negatively affect performance and morale.”

But let’s put everything into perspective thanks to a smart mentor boss of mine: In 5 years – what are you going to remember? The project you were working on? Or the time spent with family at a get-together, and the memories you’ve made? Or that wonderful trip you took?

Life is too dang short to allow ourselves to grant work the power over our lives to the point that we forget who we are outside of the workplace.

It’s the personal experiences we have outside of the office that truly matter.  At the end of the day (and I know this sounds harsh), who is going to be gathered around your grave to remember you?  Caring family members or the HR department /bosses?

Sounds silly, I know.

But more importantly: What are you afraid of missing? Why do you feel that you need to save your vacation days?

We need to let go of the fear and remember how to have fun again.  We’ve earned it, and we should not feel guilty about it.

Of course returning back to the office is always tough, but you’ll get through it, like you always do. It means some extra hours catching up, but you can do it.

The key to taking vacation days is that you and you alone have to give yourself permission to do so. You are the only one holding yourself back from enjoying the fun part of life.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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