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The Challenge of Time Off

By Steve Jones,

I've been working full time for most of my life. Since I was 16, I've rarely worked less than full time, and often worked substantially more. There are times I've had two or three jobs, though fortunately I think those days are behind me. I have a great job now, perhaps the best job in the world, and I get a generous vacation allowance. However I do struggle to take time off some years. That's my issue, and I'm working on trying to make sure I get away from work more. I appreciate the time off, but I also enjoy my job and the interactions I have with the community. 

However not everyone is in the same situation. There are plenty of people out there that get limited vacation, little support for taking time off from employers. There are those consultants that are self-employed and struggle with taking time off when it means they aren't paid for that day. I've been in all of those situations, and here's my advice. 

If you don't think you get enough time off, then look for another job. The same thing applies if your boss doesn't want to allow you to take the time off you are allotted. There are bad managers out there, and companies that look to take advantage of their employees. You can live with it, you can complain, or you can move on. The choice is up to you, but that's what I'd do. 

I realize it's not easy to just get a new job, but you can make a plan and move on. My wife and I did that, though it did take years. Life is short, but hopefully still lasts for many years. Making plans across years is the way to improve your situation over time, though you should still work to appreciate and enjoy the journey along the way.

If you're a consultant, the only thing I can say is that you need to budget. You need to limit your expenses and plan for vacation. The amount you bill may be out of your control, but you should have some idea of a range and you your expenses, your living standard, should be based on a number that allows you to take some time off each year. If it doesn't, you can improve your skills and bill more, or find ways to reduce your expenses.

I know this can be tough advice, but ultimately you are responsible for your life. You may be dealt a bad situation, but it is up to you to make the best of it, and learn to live within your means if you want to avoid the stress of overwork.

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