May 22, 2013


Now that I work for a bigger organization, I am pumped (Hanz and Franz style) about my new benefits package. I now have access to better health care options, several pre-tax savings plans, matching retirement contributions, and on and on. However, there is one big caveat to my amazing benefits plan: I am back to only two weeks of paid vacation a year. TWO. WEEKS.

You're probably wondering what I'm whining about. Don't most people get two weeks of vacation a year? What is the big deal? Well, the big deal is that I had built up four weeks of paid vacation a year with my last employer, which was pretty amazing. I took Fridays off for long-weekends. I never thought twice about the week between Christmas and New Year's. And I still had enough time left over to plan a two-week vacation to Europe last year. In other words, I was spoiled rotten.

My new reality means scrimping and saving throughout the year and planning trips far more in advance that I'm used to. The good news is that every year I stay with this new organization, I'll receive a few more days in the annual vacation bank. While I have no regrets from my transition (indeed, fewer vacation days is a small price to pay for sanity), it got me thinking about paid vacation and why there never seems to be enough to go around. Business Insider has a great infographic about paid vacation around the world which really brings this point home: Americans do not receive any mandatory paid vacation days off. All of a sudden, "Kazakhstan" (24 days) has a different ring to it, don't you think?

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