Non Voyage

Great Reasons for Letting Your Vacation Days Go Unused

Posted Dec 13, 2013

Bob prides himself to be a truly great soldier of industry. He is first to arrive and last to leave his Santa Monica office every day (most weekends included) and eats almost every meal at his desk. He completes all his projects on time at all costs. He hasn’t taken a full day off in over a year and really feels he is a lock for promotion this coming year. With all that time spent, how could he not be?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans allow an average of 459 million vacation days to expire each year. According to, a recent travel industry survey reveals close to half of today’s workers leave hard-earned vacation on the table, 78% of those squandering 10 days or more. Here are five reasons why they and Bob are on the right track:

  • A greater ability to focus: It’s amazing how much choosing work over alternative pastimes simplifies your life. You become a master of your routine, arriving at work having already planned your entire day on the way without having noticed a tree, like you’re your own robot chauffer. What’s more, as days and months pass and you experience more anger, anxiety, and depression, fewer and fewer people will call on you to be part of their lives. Marriages, friendships, and recreation are pesky intrusions with which you may no longer need to trifle.

A University of North Carolina study shows that marriages among workaholics have a divorce rate twice as high as they otherwise would.

  • You won’t have as high expectations to live up to: And ironically as the complexities of your life dwindle, and you’re able to spend more time at work, you’ll become famous for being disorganized, short-sighted, unable to delegate, sleep deprived, and missing appointments and other obligations. As people demand less and less, you will certainly find the added time and focus you’ll need to perform at a higher level.

  • You will reduce your expenses: There are so many opportunities for the ultra-dedicated to drastically reduce their cost of living. For example, as your wellbeing becomes less and less of a priority, for the same amount you’d pay for one salad at the lunchroom cafeteria, you’ll get five Texas Cinnamon Rolls from the vending machine. Those things are gi-normous! Think of the value! Statistically, you will also be more likely to skip annual check-ups or schedule time with the doctor should the cinnamon rolls not provide the bleeding-edge nutrition they intend. Heck and when you start to actually skip meals, think of all the extra cash you will have to spend with all the time you don’t have.

According to WebMD, seventy-five to ninety percent of all doctor’s visits are for ailments or complaints linked to stress.

  • You’ll walk around high as a kite, and people will applaud you for it: As you spend more and more time at work and your aforementioned propensity to organize your tasks dwindles, your stress levels will increase, giving your brain increasing doses of naturally-produced chemicals. Your body can become as addicted to them as heroine. The more you produce, the more you’ll need, so this will bring you deeper and deeper into your job, certainly fortifying the lock on that promotion. Oh, and the drug is free. More savings! You’ll be like a Hollywood junkie with an awesome buzz and more money than you know what to do with—since you’re always at work—but not having to deal with nefarious criminals to get that bump.
  • When you overdose, your employer will give you a paid supervacation: As you neglect your health more and more, you may just get a long paid vacation as you burn out or even develop chronic medical issues. After all, are there three words in the English language that go better together than “leave with pay?” Who has the last laugh now as you lay on the couch for an eternity watching TV while the co-workers who were shutting you out of team tasks because you barely know what planet you are on are now left to do all the work you left behind?

The United States is the only modern industrialized country that doesn’t require employers give minimum annual time off with pay. That makes the vacation days you get a true gift—one that is precious and essential to your performance in life, both professional and personal.

You think you are essential. Your company can’t live without you. If that’s the case, the best way to ensure that you are there for them for the maximum number of years, as sharp as a tack, is to take every single minute of leave you have coming to you.

An Ernst & Young internal study found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8 percent.

So take your vacation, Bob! Choose otherwise at your own risk.


Radical Sabbatical, an Amazon Kindle bestseller by Laura Berger and Glen Tibaldeo, is available in paperback and Kindle on