Working hard

This sounds wrong, not in terms of statistics, of which I am not aware, but in terms of people’s behavior:

Here in the U.S. the annual average is a measly 13 days (Compared to Italy’s 42 and France’s 37): a pittance if you include time-off needed for weddings, complicated mid-week errands, parole violations and the odd humdinger of a hangover. Yet somehow more than 1/3rd of Americans don’t use all their vacation each year.

Quoted from Scott Berkun’s blog.

I don’t have any statistics handy about the average annual vacations in Cyprus, but my estimation is that it’s somewhere around 20 days. And I’d say about 2/3rds take all their vacation days and then some more with sick leaves, unnoticed missed days, emergencies, and stuff like that. And there are, of course, 15 public holidays or so every year.

I love this country!

4 thoughts on “Working hard”

  1. It’s very simple actually, American corporations think we’re slaves. They’ve done everything they can to reduce the number of days off, cut back the workforce, outsourced jobs to India, reduced health benefits, etc, etc. I think the recent midterm elections have kind of sent a message though. Might also have been the rising number of stress-related suicides too. It’s far past time for the Corporate ‘personhood’ to go away, it’s abused far too much. Corporations should NOT have the ability to walk away from their debts and obligations to their employees. Enron is a classic example of how bad the abuse can get.

  2. Douglas,

    I think that vacation policies have also a lot to do with local culture. For example, here, in the Mediterranean, people are more inclined towards spending time with their families and friends, relaxing, drinking coffee, talking, etc, than working hard towards earning money and building up careers.

    It’s different from many other places, and, sometimes, even annoying. I’ve heard complains (and did a few of my own too) about ignorance of local professionals, as well as their attitude towards doing business. But after living here for some time, I got used to it. Now I even like such attitude.

    The phenomena is called “sega sega”, which roughly translates from Greek as “slowly slowly”. As in “slow down” and “don’t hurry”. :)

    There’s just no way for any corporation to push these people into 13 days off per year mode. :)

  3. I think it many American companies, employees find other ways to compensate for restrictive vacation: there are all kinds of strategies for slacking off at work and hiding it, certainly in any kind of office/knowledge worker job.

    That’s why I think the way leading software companies do it, from Google, to Yahoo, and even Microsoft makes sense: you don’t focus on tracking vacation, you focus on tracking work. If people are getting all their work done on time, and well, who cares how many days they’re in the office or not? It’s the results that matter, not the # of hours spent doing it.

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