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When a Vacation Is Not a Vacation

We've all heard the benefits of taking a real vacation, such as stress reduction and better quality of life. The problem is that so few working people get to take a good, long break from doing any work or thinking about work.

At Psychology Today, they say it takes a few days just to get your mind off of work-related thoughts, and that you will start thinking about work a few days before you return. To enjoy a good break, it seems you need more than a week. Otherwise, you never truly get time in which you are not somehow thinking about work. It is only during those days you are not thinking about work that real relaxation and rejuvenation happen.

The jewel in the crown of vacations is that people return to work more productive than when they left. 

In the United States of America, there is no law requiring employers to provide vacation time for employees. Those employers that do sometimes show extremely poor boundaries. 

Take, for example, the boss who texts his team's manager every day while she is on vacation. This manager is extremely hard working, but when she is not there, her boss claims that her team does not work as hard. The boss texts the manager instructions to telephone the team and get them back on track being productive. 

The boss' behavior completely negates any benefits the manager may get from being on vacation. Ironically, the boss is concerned about loss of productivity, which translates into loss of money. But by texting the manager, he decreases productivity even more because the manager remains stressed, and she does not return to work rejuvenated or any more productive than she was before vacation. Legally, however, there is nothing she can do about it. 

Tell Us What You Think 

Do you take a vacation, and if so, for how long? If you are an employer, do you give your employees vacation time, and what is your rationale? Add to the discussion below. 

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(Photo Credit: University of Salford/Flickr)

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