UNITED STATES—We hear a new study every 6 months noting what all Americans know, but we have yet to do anything to change it. Americans are working a lot more today, than we are sleeping. Work has become the new norm for Americans, so much to the point that we are taking less vacation time to spend with family.

This is something that did stun me: Americans are not taking time off from work. It struck me like a firecracker: I’m not taking time off from work. This is bad people; we are working more and more and more, and getting less for it. That is something that disturbs me because it’s not like we’re seeing massive bonuses from our employers for all the work that we do.

A typical work week is 40 hours, yet most of us are putting in anywhere between 50-60 hours per week. Yes, the overtime looks nice on the paycheck, but at the end of the day, the more you make the more you pay in taxes to Uncle Sam people. It’s a fact, so you almost need to slice that overtime pay in half to see the bigger picture.

I’m a firm believer we are living in a world where we are living our lives to work versus working in order to live. Let me repeat that, we are living our lives to work versus working in order to live. Work can’t be the only thing that matters in life. We work to sustain a home, clothing, food, basic necessities to live an ordinary life, while at the same time having the ability to purchase those items that bring us joy.

However, we do have to discuss the issue of employers not realizing that workers are entitled to having time off. We live in this world where people think, everyone should be working 24/7 in essence of helping the company reach its goals. No. Things don’t always work that way, and employers should begin to respect that people want time off from work! No one wants to work nonstop, it’s exhausting and the worst thing that can happen is for an employee to suffer from burnout. Yes, it’s a true thing people, where one works so much it results in them feeling fatigued, starting to catch a cold and losing absolutely all energy they had.

This happened to me years ago, where after working nonstop for close to 3 years, I was overwhelmed and just crashed and burned; so much to the point that I took a month leave of absence. It was the best thing I could have done. Why? It allowed my body to rejuvenate, to rehydrate and to get some well needed rest and just down time. Sometimes you just need a day away from work to have a bit of perspective about what is important in life.

After more than 4 years without any time off, I’m finally planning to take a long-needed, well anticipated vacation towards the end of the year. To be honest I am eager and counting down the days to take my vacation. That is the thing that I love, and I mean love about a vacation, when you know it’s so close that you can begin to taste it people.

So my advice to all Americans is if you have vacation time, personal holidays use them. Do not let them go to waste, it’s something that you earned and you should be able to utilize that time to spend time with family, travel, rest and take care of some errands. For employers, who might be in uproar about a worker taking time off, you should be planning ahead, don’t simply rely on one person to do it all, even if a person is capable of doing it, that does not necessarily mean that person should always be the go-to person.

Remember in life anything can transpire, so your all-star could get sick or find a better job offer. Then what do you do? You should always have a backup plan and put a person in play that can always be relied on if a person who is the top choice is not available.