A Hard Time About Time-off

Time off from work is earned.  Seems obvious, right?  But lately I’ve been given a really hard time about my extended vacation.  I’m not sure how people think I’m able to take so much time off (nine weeks), but the answer is “I earned it”.

I’ve heard it all…

  • From an human resources employee – “I don’t know why you think you’re entitled to take this much time off.”
  • From a director level employee, “I could never take that much time off due to my job within the company.”
  • From friends, “You are so lucky.”
  • From other co-workers, “I’d get bored if I was off work that long.”

The last one is just plain ridiculous.  I suppose if you were to take nine weeks off and stay at home on the couch and watch TV, then “yes” maybe you would be bored.  I have no intention to do that.

And, I’m certainly not “lucky”

I’ve worked for my current employer for 11 years, which is a lot longer than the average employee there.  In fact, if all the tenure of the co-workers in my department are added together my 11 years still beats them.  I’d call that “dedication” more than “luck”.

I haven’t taken any time off work in over a year.  Considering that I LOVE to travel, that’s a long time.  I’d call that “trade-offs” more than “luck”.

I’ve planned my time-off very carefully.  There are five company holidays during the nine weeks that I’ll be away from the office.  I’d call that “smart” more than “luck”.

As for the director level employee who thinks he so important that the company could not survive if he took nine weeks off, I can only say “my we have a high opinion of ourselves”.  Aside from maybe being the owner (and I’d even question that) any company should be able to survive a stint without just about anyone.  Remember how important you think you are when all of a sudden the company decides to cutback and move on without you.  It happens all the time.

I hardly know how to counter the human resource employee who stated “I don’t know why you think you’re entitled to take this much time off.”  First, “yes, I am entitled because I earned it.”  Although that wouldn’t have gotten through to her since clearly she considered “entitled” to be a bad thing.  I asked her if there was a company policy saying I couldn’t take all my time off at once.  Her response was “There should be.”  Really…that was the best she had.  I won’t even get into the rest of the conversation since the rest of it was her trying to bully me into not taking my time-off.

What I’ve learned through the process of taking nine weeks off work is that all the negative comments people are making are really rooted in “jealousy” and “fear”.  They are jealous that I had the guts to ask for the time-off and that it got approved.  They are jealous that I wasn’t fearful to do it.

Something for those of us in the United States to consider…this entire thing would be a non-issue in many other developed countries.  I’ve meant people from England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other smaller European countries who take extended leave.  Most much more extended than my nine weeks.

My advice…don’t be jealous or fearful… work hard, plan well, and ask.

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