Americans have a problem when it comes to taking vacations. In a “Vacation Deprivation” study by Expedia, Americans reported receiving 12 days of vacation a year and were expected to take only 10. The Japanese are even worse by taking only five of their 13 allotted days.
Meanwhile, the Europeans are living it up with the majority expecting to take all 25-30 days off in addition to their respective national holidays! Taking time to relax is deeply ingrained in the European culture, whereas working to get ahead is part of American work lore. The European attitude of work life balance is one of the main reasons why I’ve visited for 2-3 weeks a year for the past three years.
Since the day I started work post college in 1999 I’ve always felt tremendous guilt in taking vacations. Wall St. is an intense industry where if you leave your PB&J sando on the table for a second, someone else will snatch it away. How could I take vacation when I didn’t know much about anything? The only way to get ahead was to work more. For the first two years of my career I think I only took 10 days off.
By the time 2009 rolled around I began wondering why not take vacations when the world was coming to an end?! I decided to take four weeks off in 2009 and then six weeks off in 2010 and 2011. The dream was to take two weeks off every single quarter but I knew it was impossible. By 2012 I made up my mind that 52 weeks of vacation a year would be even better so I left!
MONEY STILL WAS A CONCERN WHILE ON VACATION