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May 27th, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Do You Vacation?

A new poll shows only 57% of Americans use up all of their vacation days.  So we want to know...do you take vacations?  If not, why?

Leave your comments below.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. David

    If i had a vacation i would take it in a heartbeat.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  2. Danielle Kelly

    I get 3 weeks of "use it or lose it" vacation per year. Generally, I take 3 days per year. My significant other and I both work for a small, family owned business and, in order for us to take vacation together, we would need to close the business. Considering we work in industrial distribution, this just doesn't happen.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  3. klaas kramer

    When the work we do is a vacation why take one

    May 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  4. Marcey Day

    I live in a "right to work state" employers have threatened my job and that of others that I know if we take vacation. " We have 90 other people applying for your job" My husband who worked in spokane WA lost his job after calling in sick ( he really was very sick) for the first time in two years.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  5. Colleen Mattson

    When I take vacation, no one does my work, so when I come back, two weeks work, plus what is going on right now awaits me. I then have to work overtime (without pay as I am salaried) to catch up. It just isn't worth it. I am more tired, over-worked, and mentally exhausted after a vacation than I would have been if I didn't take any time off.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  6. theorycraft

    We as a people want to get ahead in life. The American dream has nothing to do with financial well being, but rather earning a certain level of professional success. Why do I say that? Because people making $52,000 a year work 30+ years and people making over $1 million also work 30+ years. Everyone wants to move up.

    But when I say everyone, I don't actually mean everyone. There are lazy ones amongst us, and they probably fail to use all their vacation days because it would stand in sharp contrast to the rest of the office and they're worried it would add to their already paltry contributions and warrant a resignation. And you know what? Many people are actually coming back into the workforce after they retire. I don't think productivity and drive are bad cultural traits.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  7. Joan

    Hello, I am a manager in a physical rehab facility, in Quebec Canada. The reason why I don't take all my vacation days is mostly because I have to work double when I go back. The benefit of being on vacation goes away in a few hours, and the next weeks tend to be hell. So I use most on my vacation days separately, for sick days or family obligations.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Bruna Cavalcanti

    I'm from Brazil, and I have been here for almost 6 years. However, I still haven't gotten used with this workaholic American way of life. I feel they work so much so they will have money to pay drugs for anxiety, depression, and other conditions caused by stress. Maybe America should have a law that requires people to take vacation 🙂

    May 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  9. Donna

    1st: with the job market being what it is, people are afraid of being replaced if their boss is able to live without them for any length of time. 2nd: EVERY working parent knows that you must save your vacation days for when your children get sick – as soon as you've exhausted all of your "entitled" time off, taking additional days for family puts you at risk for being fired. 3rd: I have never met ANY one who wouldn't love to start a job with 5-6 weeks of vacation. We DON'T LOVE to work, but when your employer only gives you 2 weeks, you have to make sure you have days available for unexpected events. I take every day I can, and take unpaid days if I need to spend more time with my family. After all, the only reason I go to work is to be able to take care of my family. I'm pretty sure that is why most people work.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  10. Aaron J.

    I'm originally from the Caribbean, and I don't take normally take vacations. My parents are both very hard workers, with strong worth ethics. That got passed down to me, and i work pretty much every day. I'm a contractor, so if I don't work, I don't get paid, so I use that fact to drive me to push myself. Especially in America, you can't afford to rest on your laurels, so I use that to keep myself motivated.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  11. Keith

    Vacation isn't something I think about, and in fact, when I use a vacation day at work, I use this day to catch up on some college homework. Working in a factory + studying to be a software developer != relaxation. Working can be addictive.

    Keith,
    Williamsport, PA

    May 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  12. Ron

    I'm a retired engineer but here are some insights about vacation.
    At companies where I could roll over vacation I would not take all of it so it would build up as a safety fund in case I lost my job. There were maximum limits like 240 hrs. Once I reached this I could then use all my vacation and keep near this balance which I eventually got paid.

    At Dell in Austin, there is no roll over. Any vacation not used is lost each December. I didn't like this policy which they stated was to force people to use their days off. In reality, since projects were assigned and schedules were always tight, many felt they could not take vacation or they would be late on project completion. This would affect pay raises and bonuses. Companies don't allow time for vacations and if you take one a co-worker has to take over your project while you are gone which adds extra burden on them. These are complex projects so it is difficult to jump into the middle. This is what American companies call a productivity increase.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Denver

    Yes, I do. I get about 4 weeks a year of time to take off. However, it seems like I still have about 2 weeks at the end of the year and end up taking off the last couple of weeks of the year. More like a Holiday staycation. Sometimes I do feel guilty taking the time off...

    May 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  14. Craig

    There are those of us who have the unfortunate fate of being permanent contractors for major companies in the United States, but do you think they will hire us and give us paid vacation and paid holidays and health insurance? No. If we want to take a vacation, we fear being replaced by another contractor. So, we work and work and work. This is how corporate American treats its employees, by making them contractors, pseudo-employees. We get a paycheck every week, but no benefits at all. If feels immoral and illegal. I would like to hear other contractors voice their opinions here.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  15. Edward Winfrey

    Unfortunately I work at a job that gives no benefits, like vacation time or insurance, or raises no matter how many years or long you work – that is just the fact of my profession in the restaurant business and many other jobs. To take a vacation means spending money, and also not getting any money when you are gone from the job, plus if you take any type of vacation it usually effects your work schedule upon returning to work, which causes you to lose even more money – so I pretty much never take vacation time, haven't seen my family in years????

    May 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  16. Sharon Collins

    I am recovering from a stress-induced breakdown which has kept me out of work for ten weeks so far. The irony is that my company just increased our vacation from two to three weeks because they felt the employees were working too many hours and not taking time off to rest. They actually encourage us to take time off. But, like many in my company, I gained most of my sense of self-worth from work rather feeling valued just because I am who I am.

    I hope to return to work soon to a job I still love, but plan to love the job for eight hours a day and myself for the other sixteen. Vacations are cheaper than medical bills.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  17. Mark E

    I get 30 days/year. I spend about 10 days actually going out of town on a "vacation." I can't stay away from the job for more than a week and can't afford an expensive vacation. My wife gets very little vacation, so we rarely get away.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  18. sandra

    I take a vacation everytime i get a chance to, I even take a vacation when i use all my pto vacation time. If my boss give it; im taking it.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Alex Paschalides

    The American lives to work, while the rest of the world works to live.

    I believe the lack of vacation time actually decreases productivity in a variety of ways, ranging from decreased employee morale, to burnout, to resentment of the employer, etc. Plus, it's just not healthy from a mental perspective, no wonder we have such high depression rates in the US (and other workaholic nations, see Chinese factory deaths).

    Personally, I resigned from a lucrative career in the midst of the recession to start my own business (even though pay is slightly less). The freedom that provides me with regard to living my life the way I want to is priceless.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  20. Dennis

    I am already on vacation. Well, at least that is the way I look at it since I just got laid off a couple of days ago.

    Dennis Wyatt

    Tampa

    May 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  21. Carrie K.

    Unfortunately I haven't had a vacation in quite a while. We aren't allowed to take one all through the summer when my son is off school. Most of my vacation hours are used to make up for time at work when it's slow. I would love nothing more than to take my son somewhere every year but I simply cannot afford it.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  22. Nelson Cruce

    The first Americans came here from Europe to escape government tyranny...I wonder how long it's going to be before Americans start going back to Europe to escape Corporate tyranny?

    May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  23. Amy

    I don't get paid vacation time, can't afford to take the time off and can't afford the cost of a vacation. With the cost of living going up by the DAY, it's becoming even more impossible. The only people I know of in La. who take vacations are on some sort of government assistance. What's wrong with this picture?!!

    May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  24. steve biener

    I am 60 years old. I am self-employed. I have not taken a vacation in years. I have to be around in case work comes my way and can't afford a vacation. I am in the construction and repair industry. Although things are slow I have to wait by the phone just in case. I have lived in Los Angeles all my life and it is costly to survive.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  25. Steve

    I feel Americans do not take all of their vacation time because they are intimidated by their employers not to do so. Many Americans believe that such things as taking vacation time off are "made a lists of" if you will by supervisors who in turn quietly use that information against the employee come evaluation time...

    May 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  26. CK

    The company I work for offers a great vacation plan, but over the years as the work force was reduced, the work load wasn't. I work 60 or more hours a week (and that's not with overtime pay) and taking a vacation would mean putting in more hours to prepare for taking time off or planning on extra hours after to catch-up. The majority of time, I just plan to take my laptop and work while I'm on vacation. I would love to have a better work/life balance, but the current job market and continuing trend to offshore jobs, pretty much motivates me to work as hard as possible to ensure I'm not on the next RIF list.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  27. Brooke Combs

    The only one who takes any sort of vacation is usually my mother. Well, the grand vacations anyway. The rest of us are College/high school students who don't usually have the time nor the will (Or the collective money) to go anywhere we would consider a "Vacation."

    It's half no money, half no time, and all to do with being picky.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  28. Carol Kaye

    We vacation if you can call it that . . . having a bi-COASTAL jobsmarriage, our vacation time is always used traveling to see each other, not like the old days where we had destinItion vacations.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  29. Mary Kay

    I agree that Americans need more vacation days and also need to take them. More importantly, they need to know from the boss that their work is appreciated and that time away is well-deserved.

    However, my experience has been that it's almost impossible to enjoy time off knowing that no one will be filling in during your absence. And, before you leave, you are expected to anticipate requests and have them ready; and then, upon your return, you're supposed to work as long as it takes to get caught up on the requests that have piled up while you were guiltily enjoying time off.

    It must be much worse these days, considering the number of support positions that have been eliminated, especially in the non-profit world. I'm now retired but very busy with non-income-producing projects. I need a vacation! 😉

    May 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  30. Dwayne Foley

    Yes ,my family takes vacations. At least 2 or 3 times a year, 1 for the wife and me and the others we take with the kids. We work hard and feel we deserve to relax and enjoy. Life is short so you have to enjoy the time we are here. I work hard and I play hard.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  31. Southgate Jo

    We use to vacation once or twice a year. We would go for a week at a time. We usually went to a park or to a historical site. My wife simply can't get time off anymore. She is afraid to use her time as the company frowns on her using vacation or being away from her job. They remind her frequently that she can be replaced easily and with someone who isn't 59 years old. She takes a few days here and there and usually works 45 to 60 hours a week and is only paid for 40, no matter how hard she works. Times have changed and with the cost of gasoline being so high and the cost of taking time off being even higher....many people can't afford to take vacations anymore ....the new American Way .......

    May 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  32. Sandra

    I get 3 weeks vacation "use it or lose it". I take my vacation days to go traveling and be away from the corporate environment. I only live once and enjoy life; I would never bound myself to the rigor and stress of corporate America as it is not worth it.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  33. Grunt

    Been on vacation for a while since being laid off.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  34. Kim

    Unfortunately, the poor economy has placed an enormous burden on workers ability to use vacation leave. Many workers are afraid to take time off, fearing being replaced. In addition, I don't believe that Americans are necessarily workaholics, at least not by choice, employers have reduced their staff to levels that demand that works put in more hours, just to keep pace with demands.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  35. Giovanna Darco

    Vacation, what's that? If one is in a new job then vacation time doesn't come until the first year's anniversary, then it's likely only 7-days. Better to attach a day here and there to Holidays and make extended weekends.

    Need to respond to your discussion on raising the Debt Cap. I disagree in that there is not a disconnect with Americans in not wanting their entitlements taken away, it's the prioritizing of cuts, i.e. ending a war that costs millions each week, before touching social security of people who won't be able to keep themselves in hygenic paper nonetheless pay their real estate taxes and insurance premiums. Politicians need to step out of their big, luxury bubble outside the Beltway and peek into how the little people live. No one wants to admit we are in a huge inflation (price of good food is astronomical) and jobs are paying salaries of 1977. This is the disconnect.

    May 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  36. Bob

    I usually got 2 weeks a year. They were spent on fixing the house, car etc. I never made enough money to take the family on a real vacation; although day trips were taken. I'm now 60, did I miss anything? I'll never know.

    May 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  37. Donna

    As I said on May 27th, We DON'T LOVE to work! All of the comments that followed reiterated this fact. Fear of job loss was the main reason for not taking vacation. The other prevalent reason was that you would return from vacation to a double workload. Many people noted that they have to work UNPAID OVERTIME whether or not they take vacation. This is something you don't hear too much about, but it really needs to start bubbling up to the surface: corporations are enjoying huge financial rewards by classifying their employees as "Exempt" or "Salaried", because doing so allows them to REQUIRE employees to work overtime hours without paying them for those additional hours. Why is this legal? I can tell you that this is one of the primary reasons corporations are Anti-UNION, and spend billions of dollars supporting union-bashing efforts and anti-union candidates: Union members are paid for every minute they work plus time-and-a-half for all hours beyond their scheduled 40-hour work week (unless that particular union does nothing about contract violations). Unpaid mandatory overtime is killing us as much as the lack of time off, but we accept it in order to keep our jobs.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

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