You may be surprised to know that Americans work harder than our counterparts abroad. While Europeans enjoy months at a time of “holiday,” Americans remain hard at work. The numbers on relaxation and vacation are in – and they are not in our favor!
European workers are guaranteed 20 paid days of vacation per year – that’s 4 work weeks. Canada and Japan require 10 paid vacation days by law. France shows everyone else up by requiring 30 paid vacation days while Australia guarantees 20. The United States has no legal requirement for awarding time off – it’s strictly voluntary and most workers average about 18 days a year. Of that group, almost 25% have no paid vacation, me included as self-employed.
That’s why the United States has been dubbed the “No Vacation Nation” after a study completed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (http://www.cepr.net/) . Apparently, the US is the only advanced nation that doesn’t guarantee workers paid vacation. Our work ethic is honed around the concept of all work and no play.
This is not a new phenomenon. Many people are surprised to learn that the 40 hour work week was established by FDR only after the Great Depression. Prior to that, it was not uncommon to work 60+ hours, usually 7 days a week. This commitment to working hard is in our DNA but according to author and former Harvard professor Juliet Schor (http://www.julietschor.org/), working beyond 50 hours a week negatively impacts our productivity and efficiency. Our bodies may be present, but our brains are not working as well.
So here-in lays the question: is this desire to work a learned behavior? Or are we truly hardwired to be act like Energizer Bunnies? We’re exploring burn out and why it’s so hard to take time off to renew and re-energize. What do you think? Send us your comments and we’ll include them in our next column…
Tags: Allison Blankenship, Bonnie Michaels, boomer, burn out symptoms, burn out sytmptoms, burned out at work, career change, happiness, im stressed out, job burn out, life choice, life's lessons, stressed out, success