If you like to take lots of vacations, the United States is not the place to work. In fact, according to a report titled “No-Vacation Nation” by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the U.S. is the only advanced nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee its workers annual leave.
Vacation . . . What Is It Good For?
We’ll say it right up front – dads need vacations. Many countries realize this. Yet, even when provided with vacations only 57% of American workers use all the days to which they are entitled. When we do take the two or three weeks that may be allocated to us, we’re often tethered to our cell phones, tablets, and other personal devices so that we’re often not really on vacation but rather just at work in another location.
Quite often American workers say something like this: “I gave up over a week of my vacation last year – I just couldn’t get away” — as if it is a badge of honor. Or this: “Why should I try and take a vacation? I have to work twice as hard before I leave and then when I get back, I’m faced with three or four times the work. And when I see the bills from my trip, I wonder how I’m going to pay them. It’s just not worth it.” Now that many of us are working from home, this takes on a another dimension.
Vacations are an essential component for effectiveness on the job and in the family. You’re a better dad and a better worker if you employ some down-time. Just because you might be working from home doesn’t mean you don’t need a vacation. It might even be harder for you to distinguish between working & not working.
Finding the Balance
We’ve often talked about balance and how vital it is in the lives of dads. Sure our work is important. It provides us with a sense of identity, a way to contribute and a salary to support our lifestyle. But it is equally important to have balance in life. It is essential to shift gears downward—to enjoy calm, change the scenery, experience an attitude makeover and re-energize. Truly vacating from the grind puts duties and deadlines on hold and provides us the opportunity to strengthen the relationship with our family.
The dictionary defines “vacation” as a respite from something, a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation, a break from regular work or routine. It need not be exotic, expensive or ambitious. The good ones are simple. The best ones are the ones taken.
Getting Your Life Back in Alignment
Smart companies know that providing vacation time allows their employees to gain perspective and refuel. When workers return to the job, they do so refreshed, recharged and ready for new challenges. The payoff is equally great for the family. A vacation removes distractions, provides time for reflection and gives you the gift of reconnecting with those you love the most.
Plan something simple. Whether you stay home, really focus on the kids, and explore beautiful places nearby, or go on a camping trip or to the beach, keep logistics to a minimum. And remember to practice proper precautions during this time – wear a mask, keep a distance, wash your hands. The return on investment for both the family and the company from time off will be substantial.