The death of vacations

June 12, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

More and more Americans are foregoing vacations, according to this statistics-laden article in Slate.com:

Each passing year, more Americans view something that used to be an entitlement—paid time off—as an increasingly unaffordable or unavailable luxury. If John McCain and Barack Obama are serious about wooing working-class voters, they would be smart to pay attention to the lack of paid time off and the huge stresses this has placed on many workers and their families.

There are several factors at work here. To begin with, technology has helped iron downtime out of the economy. Many Americans are struggling to cope with job creep—the phenomenon of work quietly grabbing more and more of our leisure time. We are forever receiving co-worker or client messages on our BlackBerrys, or responding to work e-mails on our home computers on weekends, or lugging our laptops on vacation. . .

A common complaint is that it’s not worth going on vacation for more than two or three days because, with work piling up and hundreds of e-mails waiting to be opened, it is so maddeningly difficult to catch up after returning.

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Category: American Culture, Consumerism

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    A European colleague once summed up his opinion of America's dearth of vacation time by saying, "I can work 12 months a year in 11 months, but I can't work 12 months a year in 12 months." It's a biological fact: humans need rest. Perhaps the lack of it in America is one reason why so many American are obese, religious hypocrites, or both. Obesity is an obvious consequence; religious hypocrisy comes from declaring oneself to be a believer in "family values" while simultaneously valuing family time below one's job.

    Also, curiously, American workers are less productive than many European workers, even those in France. American workers produce more in a year, but French workers (for example) produce more per hour. I can attest to this myself, after seeing how many hours Americans waste while at work and how efficiently Europeans separate their work and family time. Americans likely take as much 'vacation' time as do Europeans, they just spend it in do-nothing activities at their offices.

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