With an average of 14 vacation days per year, it’s no wonder why Americans complain so much about being overworked and underpaid. A new Expedia.com/Harris Interactive poll revealed that not only do Americans have about half of what Europeans get in vacation time, but we are not even taking the time we have.
The poll showed that Americans are only using approximately 12 out of their allotted 14 vacation days, which amounts to a whopping 226 million unused vacation days and $34.3 billion worth of time (based on the average income of $39,416 for a full-time worker), according to CNN Money.
So why are we flushing away our precious time to decompress and de-stress? The poll found that many Americans are afraid to request time off out of fear that a lack of face-time in the office will result in a spot on the chopping block. And in these tough economic times, most people are thinking save not splurge, so vacation is one of the first leisure activities to be cut from the list.
It’s unfortunate that as a society, we do not place a heavy emphasis on taking time to relax and enjoy life. Could it be that we have become so obsessed with the American dream to the point of self-deprivation? And are we paying for our material obsessions through the loss of simple pleasures like free time, travel and a slower pace of life? One thing is for certain; when we begin to fear that taking two vacation days may result in termination from a job, we are no longer a free worker, but a slave to the American dream.
How much vacation do you have? Do you use all your days? Why or why not?
Photo by: michanx/Flickr