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The Challenge of Time Off Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:10 AM
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I previously worked for a professional sports team and it was one of the greatest jobs of my life. I do enjoy taking time off, and my boss would try to accommodate vacation requests during the season, but there were days where I just had to be there for the coaches. As the team became more entrenched in technology, my off-season became shorter and shorter and my window for a week's vacation shortened. Everyone else's window also became shortened and we competed for that time.
It became stressful trying to find time for a family vacation as I felt guilty for trying to extend my days off with my family. Much of that guilt arose from leaving my co-workers with a shortened window in which they could try and cram their vacations into. There was also the stress of work piling up, putting out the fires and more importantly being with the family while trying to do everything else.
Having left the organization, my work time is now as close to being regular as it ever will be. I get time off when needed or requested. I find that time off much more relaxing now that my days off aren't so hard to obtain and also knowing that if I need another one or two or three... I can get them without restriction.
My family and I recently took a short family vacation and it was all family time. I regret that I missed that earlier in life, but I know I won't miss out on that anymore!
Post #1524659
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:16 AM
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At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!
Post #1524667
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:18 AM


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Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)
At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!

Sounds like my old job.


Tony
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Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
Post #1524670
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:35 AM


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Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)
At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!


It's posts like that which remind me of my good fortune.

In the UK, four weeks is the norm, and the flexible benefits package in the company where I work allows us to buy extra to take it up to a maximum of six weeks per year. That aside, holiday is not a privilege; it's a contractual right. Once again, in the UK, the scenario Jim's post outlines would very likely have constituted harrassment and landed the company in court.

From my point of view, if a company cannot do without someone long enough for them to take a holiday, they have a critical single point of failure and that person's manager isn't doing their job properly.



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Post #1524684
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:57 AM


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majorbloodnock (12/19/2013)
Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)
At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!


It's posts like that which remind me of my good fortune.

In the UK, four weeks is the norm, and the flexible benefits package in the company where I work allows us to buy extra to take it up to a maximum of six weeks per year. That aside, holiday is not a privilege; it's a contractual right. Once again, in the UK, the scenario Jim's post outlines would very likely have constituted harrassment and landed the company in court.

From my point of view, if a company cannot do without someone long enough for them to take a holiday, they have a critical single point of failure and that person's manager isn't doing their job properly.



"Four weeks is the norm"? No matter if you've been there a year or 20 years?

They seem to have the right idea about this in the UK. I'm going to have to check out the job market over there.
Post #1524697
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:53 AM
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In my 20 plus years of consulting I have budgeted 1,800 hours per work year. The typical work year is considered to be 2080 but for consultants you have to consider vacation - 120 hours, sick time - 40 hours, training - 40 hours, holidays - 80. Regardless of my rate, This is how I compute my expected income for the year. I frequently work more hours due to overtime but I always take vacation as "She who must be obeyed" requires it.
Post #1524717
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 1:19 PM


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As a workaholic, I find it difficult to unplug on the weekends but am trying my best. I got a reminder from my boss to take my personal days (we get 8 a year) by the end of the year or I will lose them. Same with vacation. So I had 3 left and was thinking, can I afford to see them go? No! So today, on the eve of a personal day, I was exhausted after reviewing several hundred reports, batch jobs and creating a visio diagram of the results that, hopefully someone will now understand when I say "a database does not live in the void without data." I looked at my calendar and boy, the personal day never looked so good.

It is important to "leave", if only for a little while. Stuff will go on with or without you and if they fail, you will be even more valued when you get back and fix it. Plus your family and pets will thank you for it too.
Post #1524773
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 2:13 PM


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The other day, I went to the office, and after checking email and task list saw there was nothing requiring my immediate attention, so I took the day off and watched "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in a 3D IMAX theatre, which was a very delicious three hour escape. Afterward, I drove to a local mountain park for a six mile hike and returned home late in the evening. I actually prefer occasionally losing myself for a day or two when I really feel like it more than I do blocking off a couple of weeks at some fixed date.
Post #1524803
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 4:59 PM


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I have generally always lax about taking all my vacation days. At the same time my prior position and employer was a bank that had a requirement to take five consecutive days off every year. Most of those vacations were at home. And you had five sick days.

My current position has been under two different companies. The prior company started you off with 17 days PTO for both vacation and "sick" days. You were responsible to reserve enough to handle the sick days; but you could carry over 40 hours.

The new owners start around ten days of use it or lose it vacation days and it goes up with time. (Three years + is fifteen days.) But they view sick time as sick time with a reasonable limit. And they expect you to try and telecommute on your sick days.

But at the same time I don't really stress about being off because when I'm at home I'm in a nice relatively stress-free environment. I have no spouse or kids. I live on six acres in a very rural area. A few years ago my ex-GF wanted to go on a weekend cabin retreat. About the only difference from my place was more trees, a little less traffic, and a jacuzzi compared to my garden tub.

So to me that makes a world of difference. I was doing a 110 mile round trip commute until recently. Now I'm telecommuting. Even though I now can be at "work" 24/7 I know how to turn it off and relax at home.




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Post #1524837
Posted Friday, December 20, 2013 6:52 AM
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I'm in the UK and have 31.5 days leave (1.5 added in place of compulsory shutdowns) which was 26.5 until 5 years service complete. Plus Bank Holidays. Then we work flexitime and can take up to two flexi days off per month as long as the worked hours per month are correct and we always have to liaise with other team members to ensure cover. There's no working before 07:30 or after 18:00 without prior authorisation and no callouts when on leave so overall the work-life balance is good. Cr*p pay though.
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