Americans are not using their vacation time and it’s hurting us in more ways than one. My father tragically passed before the age of 40 from heart failure. Some might argue that he quite literally worked himself to death. In over a decade of service at his printing job, my father never once took a vacation and it took it’s toll on him as well as his family. There are articles upon articles which explore the staggering statistics of unused vacation time, wasted family time and wasted personal time. Why is nothing changing? There have been reports by NPR, Boston Globe and CNN all exploring this epidemic, but no one is offering solutions.
Let’s talk about the reasons why taking vacation, may actually benefit your career!
We must change the way we think about taking time away from our careers. Stop putting your life off for retirement! Read on to find out what the value of vacation really is and debunk your parents old school way of thinking. It’s time to squeeze every last drop out of our vacation time!
10 Ways Vacation Will Actually Help Your Career:
Better Health – Stress from constant work weighs on our bodies emotionally and physically. If you’re not taking vacation, likely you’re not performing at your best. You may begin to see your stress create aches, pains and even disease in your body. Vacation is a way to remove yourself from the daily grind and release work stress.
Confidence – Taking vacation shows management that you have everything under control. If you’re confident in your work, there is nothing to worry about when you take off for 2 weeks. Contrary to popular belief, being available 24/7 does not make you look like a better employee, it actually makes you seem insecure and unprepared.
Time management – I used to work with someone who had piles and piles of paperwork on their desk, they were always stressed, never took lunch or vacation. Each performance review, they were surprised not to have gotten top marks despite their clearly working harder than everyone around them. Work smarter, not harder and manage your time. An upcoming vacation will give you a deadline to complete your work by.
Unusual Opportunities– You never know who you’re going to meet on an airplane and you might make the deal of a lifetime or find an amazing career opportunity. I’ve met everyone from producers on top TV shows to high powered lawyers that got stuck in coach at the last minute. Many opportunities present themselves when you travel. You gain exposure to people you may otherwise never have had access to.
Perspective – Visiting new and interesting places in the world gives you an advantage on an enhanced perspective. You might look at building something different, armed with the knowledge of how they do things in China. You might come up with a brilliant idea on improving your clothing line to reflect worldly patterns in Thailand or be inspired to write a new story by the beauty of Ireland.
Bravery – Navigating the back roads of a foreigner country like a pro is going to make you feel pretty brave! Opening yourself up to uncomfortable situations will build your confidence and help you to overcome fear. Maybe you’ll even come back ready to ask for that raise!
Adaptability – Things go wrong all the time when you travel, but you figure it out! You learn to change and adapt in the most extreme circumstances. This will give you the ability to remain calm, cool and collect in your work life. You’ve been there, you know things will work out and you will exude this problem solving ease to all around you.
Leadership – From planning your road trip to mapping out your hotels through Europe, you are learning and showing leadership skills. Going on a group trip to Ireland? You’re going to need to collaborate, agree and hash out every detail. Read every leadership book in the world, nothing can replace actual experience. If you’re goal is to be in a management role, you need to have real world experience to point to. Travel will give you this experience!
Interviews – Everyone can pull up examples from past work experiences. What if you were asked “tell me about a time you exhibited leadership skills”? To which you were able to reply “Well, last year while traveling in Thailand….” No one in the room is asleep any longer at that point! One of the most important things to accomplish in an interview is to leave a lasting impression. Be the person that stands out! Arm yourself with outside the box thinking and examples to “wow” them.
Worldly Awe – You may be surprised at how many people have not travel beyond their backyards. There are many misconceptions about the rest of the world and until you’ve experienced those places first hand, you may also believe those to be true. These misconceptions create fear and keep people from traveling to certain places in the world. Therefore, many will find your travel exciting, fascinating and even daring. Travel stories are a great opportunity to create a personal bond and will leave a lasting impression with your colleagues. Half the batter in the corporate world is visibility!
We cannot allow our out dated line of thinking dictate our worldly experiences. While we are focusing on climbing the corporate ladder, our children are growing up and our life moments are passing us by. Money and success will buy you many things in life, but it cannot buy you time. Our lives are merely a series of moments; don’t let yours be made up of regrets.
Take back vacation, take back your time; create your precious life moments.
Those moments will be your legacy.
What do you think? Comment Below!