UNITED STATES—I have been speaking to some people that I know and we all came to a strange agreement: there are way too many Americans who are afraid to take vacation time. I had to think about it, but I also came to that conclusion. We have this weird guilt about taking time off from work, but I don’t understand why. So I asked a few people. For some, the argument that came to mind was the fact that their company didn’t offer paid vacations.

Which I can understand because there are those companies that don’t and if you’re in a financial bind you need every single dollar possible so a vacation is not a top priority. Then, I posed another question: what if your finances are in good standing and you can afford to take a break, why not take a vacation? Well, there is that issue of not having someone to fill your role if you take a vacation. That seemed to be the kicker for most people I spoke to. There was NO ONE to cover their role and it raised that question why companies don’t train more people to ensure all slots have a backup in case something unexpected transpires and the person that you rely on is unable to work, then what?

Yeah, that is a question that should be considered more than often, but guess what people, it is NOT considered a priority and what does that say about the company? They are reliant on a particular individual and that can be dangerous for two reasons 1) It places a ton of pressure on that person 2) Companies find themselves in a dilemma of not knowing what to do if someone they rely on is out of commission.

There is also that notion that companies sometimes place that bug into their employees and staff members ears that you need to ensure you have all your bases covered before taking time off. Um, that is actually the company’s responsibility, not mine, but it leaves the person wondering if they want to deal with the hassle of doing so much just to take a few days off. I will NEVER forget a phrase one of my undergraduate professors said to me during my senior year: “You work to live. You don’t live to work.” It didn’t quite make sense to me at the time, but as I got older it made perfect sense for me. You work to be able to enjoy things in life, but your life should NOT be dictated by work in any fashion.

Unfortunately, too many of us get tangled in that world of work and it does indeed become our life, and we don’t know how to escape it. Just when we think we are ready to take a vacation we find ourselves doing all in our power to work even though we shouldn’t work. Why? We have that nagging feeling if we don’t do it, no one will do it and that is a sucky and I mean absolutely sucky feeling because I think some companies secretly want you to work without you actually working at your full potential. However, the way I see things whenever you work its work, there is no such thing as slight work, either you’re working or you’re not working there is no in between people.

So if you have vacation time people, use it, especially if you have paid vacation time. There is NO REASON for you to allow those paid hours to just vanish or not to be rewarded for time that you earned or worked towards. Hell, I remember in my college days that I actually worked a day or two during my paid vacation. Why? Things were so bad at the company they did not have anyone there to handle things while I was absent for a few days. I was not a fan, but it is the nature of the beast when you’re so good at your job, so what can you do people.

A vacation in my opinion is earned. So if you’ve earned a vacation, then you need to take it. Take that week off which is what most people tend to get, but in essence its truly only 3 to 4 days because you need a day to relax after starting your vacation and then you need a day to prepare to go back to work when the vacation ends. So in overall essence we actually need 2 weeks of vacation time to properly allow the body to heal, relax and totally decompress to your fullest potential.

Yes, there is always that fear that a company might fire you if you take time off, but let’s be real, if you’ve worked hard you deserve that time off plain and simple people.

Written By Jason Jones