Did you know that Americans left 577,212,000 unused vacation days on the table last year? Now THAT’s a stat to be proud of! And since Baby Boomers still comprise 31% of the workforce (despite that the youngest of them is 50), we owe them a big thanks for their outstanding live-to-work ethic!
It gets better. 49% of Boomers intend not to retire until they’re 66 or older. And 10% say they’ll never retire at all! And to think we’re wasting online ink here trying to promote career breaks? The average employed American takes only 10 days off—and refuses to use the remaining 4. We’ve got 144 million workers; you do the math!
So let’s stop this balderdash about the beauty of breaks, retirement (temporary or otherwise), and time off. Let’s dispel some myths about this nirvana-utopia that one allegedly lands at when, say, you pack your bags and fly to Vietnam or Cabo or San Fran or wherever.
Myth #1: Vacations offer rest.
This, of course, is poppycock—since vacations stress the already over-stressed routine, require months of planning, days of packing, and hours of travel—and often on jets with bad air, dangerous food (if any at all), not to mention seats the size of one butt cheek. Once “there,” simple but essential acts like procuring Pizza Hut and finding a decent toilet can be a chore. The R&R happens when you finally get home and collapse back into your harried life.
Myth #2. Vacations are affordable.
You kidding me? You gotta buy gas to drive anywhere, if only to the family cabin. And what about sandals and straw hats and Tommy Bahama shirts for the cruise or beach? Plus airfare and sleeps? Better to save your hard-earned cash for more important things, like big vehicles, Fleetwood Mac reunion tickets, and the newest iPhone.
Myth #3. You meet interesting people.
Nonsense! Vacationers (and the people who serve/sell to them) are unrealistic dweebs who like to set aside sanity for careless silliness. Take this guy. I recently met him while vacationing (gasp!) on St. John. He entertains lazy grinners and diners, makes guitars out of cigar boxes, and has been mastering his own musical style for years. Poor guy. He could have been a banker in North Dakota and gotten rich on the oil boom.
Myth #4. You bond with family.
Yeah, so what? Who doesn’t get enough family—especially Boomers (who have had to deal with them for decades). Why make sandcastles with your grandkids when you already spent the holidays spoiling them? Stay home and stay tuned in and turned on. Find some Gilligan’s Island reruns and pay close attention to those hemorrhoid-remedy commercials!
Myth #5. Vacations encourage exploration.
Ya sure, you can leave your comfort zone and go swim with man-stinging rays or climb rocks. But those are slippery slopes—and you could get your eye poked out. Stay on the job, I say, and keep up with your BookFace and Social Security and GetIntoMe accounts (when the boss isn’t looking). There’s SO much to explore in the office and online!
This topic grows more vital daily—as frozen Americans fly recklessly away for warm “escapes” to potential doom and destruction, and others begin to ponder summer BreakAways.
But you know better, right? Good! So stop dreaming. Stop scheming. And stop saving your money. Thank you!
Now, get back to work.
Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.