My odd relationship with vacation …

In my job, I am “fortunate” to have a rather generous allotment of vacation. And, yes, for me that “fortunate” has to be in quotes, because for me personally it’s often more of a curse than a blessing. While here by law you have to receive vacation pay — which at one point was 2 weeks pay, but I think it’s a bit more now — and while many companies simply actually pay that out every year and make all leave unpaid leave, my company does the standard thing for bigger companies and gives you a number of days of vacation and you essentially don’t show up for a day, call it vacation, and then get paid as if you were there that day. Snazzy. Of course, that means that they don’t pay unused days out at the end of the year; it’s part of your regular compensation, essentially.

The biggest problem for me when it comes to vacation is that, in general, I don’t really do anything that I need to take vacation for. I don’t like to travel, and so never take a week or two to go somewhere warm or to take in Europe or, well, whatever it is that people do when they travel. I’m also not much into renovations and the like, so I don’t take a week or so off to fix something up that needs to be fixed up. All of my interests are generally the sort of thing that I can do in the evenings or on weekends, and so are most of my errands. My vacations, then, are me staying at home doing all of the things I’d do on the weekend, just during the week. Thus, I don’t have any reason to say “I need to take a week or two right now to get my stuff done”; all of my stuff will wait a week. Or a month. Or a few months, if need be.

Because of that, there are a number of times when it wouldn’t make sense for me to take vacation, which manage to align with all of the times that I’m busy at work. Because I never need to take a particular week off for anything, it never makes sense for me to work like crazy for a week, take a week off, and then work like crazy the week I get back. Either I should work like crazy all three weeks, or work all three weeks so that I don’t have to work like crazy at all. After all, anything that I was going to do I can do some other time, so better to reduce my stress level and just work. This also applies to taking individual days off; if I’m working time on the weekend because I’m under time pressure, it doesn’t make sense to then take a day off the next week. I would have been better off to just take the weekend off … or, at least, use the fact that I worked then to cover the day I took off.

Now, add to this that while I’m a fairly dedicated worker, I’m not quite a stupid one. If not using my vacation days meant that I’d end up with a little extra cash at the end of the year, I’d take the money and only use the vacation that I really wanted to use at times where it was reasonable for me to take it. But since that’s not the case, I’m not inclined to have a compensation package that will pay me to stay home for a number of days and then come in and work anyway without getting paid extra. So, I really do indeed want to use all of my vacation days, and the company wants me to use them (for various reasons), and so I try to use them all. Which usually ends up with my taking a lot of time off around Christmas, more than most people would. Which isn’t easy for my managers to, er, manage.

Thus, for me, vacation is actually something that I have to manage, like a resource in an RTS. Well, sure, that’s the way it is for most people, but for them it’s a resource that they run out of, while for me it’s something that I have to arrange to take without impeding my ability to do my work. That’s just one of the little ways where I can be very, very odd.

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One Response to “My odd relationship with vacation …”

  1. Busy Work/Gaming | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] September and October — as should be obvious from the second sentence of the post — and I’ve already talked about why taking vacation in the busy times really doesn’t work for … Suffice it to say that with those things coming up and with the work thing, I’m pretty busy […]

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