UNITED STATES—Life can be chaotic, we all know that, but the great thing about life is that you can always take a moment and cut off from all the mayhem and madness that pushes us to our breaking point. That is why the vacation comes into play. I’m someone who has worked in corporate America for years, I have never solely worked one job, I have always juggled 2 jobs in some cases 3. Trust me when I say this: 3 jobs are hard as hell to do. You leave one job to go to another job to go to another job. It is not fun and can be taxing as hell on the body to say the least.

With that said, the great thing about working in corporate America is that many companies provide you vacation time and personal holidays. Yes, one of my jobs offers this and it’s my solace because all the hard work I’ve put in during the year I receive payment for even if I choose not to work. I’ve noticed that if you look at things across the pond as they say, those workers tend to get more time off when it comes to work and more time to decompress in general.

That does not seem to be the case in America and I don’t understand why. It seems we are expected to work more, receive less and deal with more stress along the way. I don’t take vacation time often, but when I do it’s a direct result of me being deftly ill, so overworked, I’m literally on the brink of a shutdown or something so serious has transpired where even if I wanted to work I can’t.

I mean there have been situations where I’ve been working from a hospital while caring for a sick parent, dealing with the anxiety of my surroundings after having a gun pointed at my head and robbed in broad daylight, working in the midst of grieving the loss of two family members within a month’s time frame. The list can go on and on, the point being I don’t take much time off, but when I do, I feel like people question why? Um, I’ve earned it and dammit I deserve it.

Anyone who tells you they want to work nonstop without ever taking anytime off is full of it. No one wants to work nonstop and even if they did it’s a burden; you will get burnt out and you need the opportunity to recharge your battery. When I do plan for my vacation I always try to prepare as much in advance as possible because I don’t like surprises. Don’t come to me saying, oh, we didn’t know you were going on vacation. I told you in person, I sent you an email, I sent you a text message, you knew, you just may have forgotten that is your problem not mine.

You can never expect and employee or worker to NOT want time off and you should have a backup plan always. You need to have someone who can cover one’s shift if they take time off or just need time away from the company. Some companies do not plan for this and it just absolutely baffles me. Anything can happen in life, you get sick, there is a death in the family or some other crisis ushers in out of nowhere and takes a loyal employee out of commission.

This is life and you have to be prepared for it at any given notice. Never assume all will be well. A vacation is something every American needs and for many it’s not always about going somewhere tropical or for a quick getaway. For some, it’s to decompress, spend time with family and for others, it’s to handle some serious business like a health crisis, a surgery you’ve delayed or something else of importance that can no longer be ignored or overlooked.

Here is the last thing I will say, I used to feel guilty about taking time away from work, but I had to ask myself why? Why do you feel guilty? Then it struck me, I should take more time off! I work extremely hard and I’ve earned it. If you get a paid vacation the more to you because that is icing on the cake and you have earned it. If you don’t receive a paid vacation because perhaps you’re an independent contractor you really should not feel guilty at all about. You need time to recoup from the chaos of work, life and everything else that is thrown at us.