24 reasons why I’m afraid to take vacation time
I’m about to take a vacation. I’ve never taken a vacation from work, because before I had this job I was a contractor and I worked 80 hours a week and there was no way to get around that. So, now I’m going to actually use vacation time and fly somewhere.
I’m not the only person who hasn’t taken a vacation. A recent Robert Half survey found that 26% of Canadians are not using paid vacation days provided by their employer, and another study found that 42% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day in 2013. But we should be taking them.
Apparently, we hurt our health, productivity, and the economy when we don’t take those days. One study by Oxford Economics somehow found that the economy would gain $160 billion in sales and $21 billion in tax revenues if workers actually took all of their paid time off. Also, we’re losing out on the opportunity to spend paid quality time with our partners, families, and children. Why on earth would we do that?
Maybe I can shed some light on that. At least I know why I am hesitant to take a vacation. You can probably relate. Here are the things I worry will happen when I take a vacation from work.* (How about you? Why haven’t you taken a vacation?):
1. Things will fall apart in my absence.
2. Things will not fall apart in my absence.
3. Things will go so well in my absence that my manager realizes I’m superfluous and when I get back he will be like, “What do you do around here, again?”
4. Someone else will step into my role while I am gone, just to get a few things done, and will be much better at it than I am. Then, when I come back, my boss will be too nice to tell me about it but will secretly wish I would quit so that he could hire this other person in my position, and this will cause tension but I won’t know why.
5. People will talk about me behind my back.
6. People will forget I exist.
7. I will forget something in my desk and realize when I’m on the plane that I desperately need it.
8. I will be laid off, but the email will get lost and I won’t know about it, so I will show up to work when I get back and it will be embarrassing for everyone.
9. A huge promotion will open up and I will miss out on the opportunity because I am not there and someone else will get it.
10. I will miss out on some other incredible opportunity.
11. People will go through my desk drawers.
12. Someone will steal my pink highlighter, and I will need to highlight something but won’t be able to find it, so I’ll tell myself I’ll just remember it, but I won’t.
13. People will think “It sure is nice and quiet around here with her gone!” (And it will be true.)
14. My flight will be delayed and I’ll be stuck in the airport for hours with a fussy toddler.
15. I’ll be seated near someone who is farting and talking too loud.
16. Plane crash.
17. Jet lag.
18. The hotel will lose my reservation.
19. The food will be bad.
20. It won’t be fun.
21. It will be expensive
22. Twitter will miss me.
23. Twitter won’t miss me.
24. No one will miss me.
*Inspired by this New Yorker article. Mine won’t be as good, but I’m kind of hoping to see this become a meme of similar lists. One can dream.