NO VACATION NATION ≠ AN ENGAGED ORGANIZATION

One of my and my partner Dan's favorite shows on television is the program Sunday Morning.  It's a great, thoughtful and provocative TV magazine that regularly presents interesting facts and details about a wide variety of people, places and things.  Two Sunday's was no exception.  I’ve taken the liberty of paraphrasing some of their feature story and sharing some alarming statistics. Of the 33 richest nations in the world we are the only one without a paid vacation policy.  Denmark nationally mandates five full weeks and Germany and Switzerland four.

In the US only 10% of full-time workers get two weeks paid vacation.  Of part-time workers only one third get paid vacation leave.  In the US 23% of workers say they are not planning to take vacation this summer.

Many US workers “don’t want to be seen as the guy or gal who values play over work.”  Consider the recession we are in and the pervasive fears workers are living with and you can imagine how much more intense this belief might be.

What does the impact of an all work no play mindset have on our creativity and ingenuity?  Perhaps it’s prudent to reflect upon the philosophical implications of a position that sees paid vacation time as a perk as compared with the position it is an essential right of every member of society so that they can recharge themselves by doing something relaxing and non work related for an extended period of time.

As we start the summer season I wonder just how many people will be texting, calling or tweeting while supposedly spending the afternoon on the beach with family and friends.  This mindset of constantly working, the never-ending job is at the other end of the spectrum of an engagedorg. As a self-employed person, I need to address this issue.  Can I really take two weeks at the beach this summer without bringing work along?  It’s an epidemic. What do you think?  It would be great to hear your comments.