2006/04/23

Vacation - Time For A New Strategy

A post over at Educational Whisper got me to thinking about vacation. Frankly, when it comes to the amount of recreation time we get, it sucks to be an American. While Europeans luxuriate with their 6 weeks of mandatory time off, corporate America achieves spectacular advances in productivity on the backs of their hard-slogging workers. Show of hands...how many of you get as much as 3 weeks off per year? Wow! How about 2 weeks off? Uggghhh!

There was a time, not so many decades ago, when one could expect to have the same employer for 10 years, 20 years, or even a lifetime. And during your tenure, your allotted time off would increase to what I would call a "reasonable" level, but that's no longer the case. Companies usually throw new employees (and studies show that you will be a "new" on average once very 5 years) back to the "two-week-a-year" level. When you couple that with the American ethos of "as many hours as it takes to get the job done," time off becomes more important than ever.

The Blognonymous Immodest Proposal

So here's the deal: Like everything else in the corporate world these days, from training to compensation, our careers are in our hands. So why not vacation? The next time you're in a job negotiation try the following tactic (which BTW I've been using for the last 5 years over 3 different employers): When the issue of vacation comes up look the prospective employer in the eye and say: I take 4 (5, whatever...) weeks off per year. You may subsidize whatever portion of that time you feel like. I other words figure out what you need, assume you won't be compensated, and adjust your salary requirements accordingly.

8 Comments:

I've decided to go on vacation while I am at work. I just wander around looking vacant and hope maybe they'll ask me to take some time off ;)
I get three weeks. Might be up to four now. BUT, I work for a non-profit organization that gives benefits and time off instead of big salaries. In fact, even though I'd only been there for two and a half years at the time, I had enough sick and vacation time to take six weeks off for radiation last summer and not lose a single day's pay. Due to cutbacks in funding, we haven't had a lot of raises in a while. It's really not enough money to live on, but given the health issues and the fact that I love it there, it seems best to stay as long as possible.
I get 5 weeks a year, and my employer gives us all one free Friday off every month, which adds up to 12 extra days off a year. Love it wish it was even more.
Vacation time, health insurance and other benefits offered a long time ago have been found to eat into the bottom line, which of course reduces the chances of your CEO making as much as the CEO across the street. It's much easier to retrain people every three years than to offer them a vacation.

Next year, I'll be up to three weeks.
Hey Kvatch, thanks for the link up. Looks like a very solid strategy. I'll try it next time I am offered a new gig. In my current occupation - primarily stay at home father, it's an "all the time job." so, days off are not defined the same way. I also work part time, which offers no days off - so, I'll have to remember the strategy for the next time I line up a full time gig.

BTW, in my post over at my location, I was hoping to get even a small fraction of time that the President gets. Or, if you want to think of it differently, perhaps we aught shift executive salaries to pay for extended days off for regular rank and file employees rather than give them eisner style severance packages.
Blog on all.
Back when I lived it Milan, the entire city would shut down for August.

People started taking about where they were going in late June and would be telling people where they went through September.

With the anticipation, consummation and afterglow, they spent practically a quarter of a year in vacation mode.
Glenda, I'm officially jealous. I don't think that I'd even try to negotiate 5 with pay or without.

Lew, yeah and I guess that's the whole point. People need to look at their whole compensation and be willing to go after what they need. Sucks for those who don't like negotiation though.

Windspike...my pleasure. No matter the source (even when it's tangential), I still try to give credit where credit is due.

Scaramouche...screw the Europeans! I want my summer in Dubrovnik, goddamnit!
Scaramouche...screw the Europeans!

And Dubrovnik is exactly where?

Aahhh, it's where Europeans go to soak in the Adriatic and, mayhaps, screw other Europeans.

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