You’ve been working hard all year long, and maybe you’re thinking about skipping out on your holiday vacay this year, despite the mountain of PTO you’ve accrued and the building evidence that your family and friends miss you and are getting a little fed up with your ridiculous work ethic. Why unwind at home or lie on a beach when you can fritter your life away in your cubicle like the workaholic rock star you are?
But your unwillingness to take a few days off to spend with your family or cats doesn’t make you unique: Last year, 57 percent of American workers had unused vacation time at the end of the year, leaving an average of 11 days on the table.
Why do so many workers refuse to take their hard-earned PTO? A lot of it has to do with guilt and fear. Many workers feel that they have too much work to take off, or that they can’t afford to take a vacation (despite the fact that watching 30 Rock on Netflix in your underwear with your cats is basically free). Some feel they may even get fired if they take too much time off. Others are saving up those vacation days as a safety net in the event they are fired or laid off.
But here’s the thing: Those vacation days are yours. Just like your paycheck, those days belong to you, and you can do whatever you want with them. Just like you can waste your paycheck on collectible Star Trek plates from the Franklin Mint, those days are yours to use — whether you choose to go on a fabulous vacation to the Bahamas or spend a week growing to your bed.
Also, taking some time off from work is actually good for you and makes you more productive at your job. In fact, consistently working more than 40 hours a week with no vacation negatively impacts your health, family life and productivity. Yeah, all that extra working isn’t making you a superstar — it’s making you a liability.
So if you want to live to see all your Star Trek Franklin Mint plates appreciate in value, take your damn vacation already. Your cats miss you.