What on earth happened to the American’s vacation time? A recent poll on MSN was asking if employees would ‘pay’ to have extra vacation time, by having money deducted from their paycheck. This is just ridiculous. All the elected officials, the rich and the famous, take lots of time off. Congress is hardly ever in session these days and they recently voted to give themselves even more time off. Business leaders take lengthy vacations, but Average Joe is lucky to get more than an extended weekend, and even then he/she is under pressure to stay in touch with the workplace. I read a report that said the British, who get a minimum of four weeks vacation and most often take two week vacations, only truly unwind for four days of the two weeks on the beach. Which means a long weekend is totally useless. Being English myself it was a nasty culture shock to learn that I had to work for a year to even qualify for paid time off, and the maximum I could ever attain was two weeks. I dragged my American wife off on a vacation not long after we married, and she stressed for the first three days about leaving work behind and that by taking a week off, she would have next to nothing left. At the time I didn’t understand, but I do now and I think it’s awful. What the hell happened? I know full well that families here used to go on road trips, like in the National Lampoon movies. Nobody does that anymore because they can’t. Instead, they take three night cruises or take a weekend nearby, and don’t even have chance to unpack. I don’t know why hotels still give you closet space and drawers anymore because hardly anyone stays longer than two or three days. If you go to sites like expedia, you won’t find anything that gives you longer than a week.
When I lived in England, we used to laugh at the American tourists for trying to see the whole Island inside four days. I used to work in a hotel that was a part of their stay, and they looked and acted exhausted. I now know why. The unions used to be strong here, how did they let the employers get away with this? It’s got to the stage now where employers force their workers to not take their deserved time off by implying that they might not have a job to come back to.
Is it any wonder that the stress levels are so high and everyone is taking more and more medications? Joe Average needs to be able to lie on a beach somewhere for a couple of weeks, to unwind, get refreshed, read my books, and relax. If those lazy sods in Congress can take half the year off, the least they can do is stipulate that Mr and Mrs Ordinary get four weeks a year without harassment from their bosses.