I will never understand why people let their vacation time pile up at work. I mean, if you are working your dream job and you love your work, then I can somewhat understand that. After all the big goal is to find a job that you don’t need a vacation from. However, even in that situation you still need to take a vacation every so often to refuel your batteries! Or to give your brain a rest, or visit loved ones, or just to do something different. I take it back, I don’t even understand letting vacation hours pile up in that circumstance. Taking time off is good for you even if you love your job!
I was talking to a co-worker today who has over 200 hours of PTO banked – my company doesn’t differentiate between vacation or sick, it’s all PTO. I’m fairly certain that my jaw hit my chest. 200+ hours!!! That is over five week’s worth of time off. Good lord! The things I could do with that kind of time off blows my mind, and she’s just sitting on it! When I asked her why she hasn’t used any of that, she gave several answers, but the one that stuck with me the most was this one, “Something might happen, and then I’ll need it.”
Okay, there’s some sense to that. Be prepared and all that jazz. (Name those two musicals) However, tomorrow you could drop dead from a heart attack, and then what good did it do stockpiling those hours? None! Those hours could have been spent pursuing a hobby, road-tripping across the country, or sitting on a beach reading a good book. Instead, you spent them sitting on your butt at work … just in case. I don’t get it. For perspective, I am the person who keeps fully stocked earthquake survival kits at home, in my car and at work. I am all about being prepared! But that does not translate to time. I refuse to stockpile time for future use.
The fact that I lost seven family members before I could legally buy a drink, probably has a lot to do with this. There’s something about watching people you love die, especially before their time, that puts a whole new perspective on things. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sad when anybody dies, but somebody in their nineties has done one heck of a lot of living. Someone in their forties or fifties, not so much. My mom was in her forties when she died, and my aunt was in her fifties. They still had vacation time in the bank. Not literally, well maybe literally who knows, but I can guarantee that they still had things they wanted to do.
My aunt and I had been “planning” a whitewater rafting trip for over ten years. It would come up every so often when we were together and we would both agree that we really needed to do that, because it would be so fun. Then it would be filed back onto the ‘Do It Later’ list. It has now been moved to the ‘Can’t Ever Do It” list. I guess that’s why I decided to go to England next year. I can’t really afford it, but I’m doing it anyway. One of the things on my bucket list is to see a live performance of every play in Shakespeare’s canon. As it stands today, I have seen every one of his plays, except one. And wouldn’t you know it, The Royal Shakespeare Company is mounting that exact play in Stratford-Upon-Avon in late 2016 – early 2017. So I am flying half way around the world to see a play. Why? Because I can.
Use your vacation hours.