Why Time Off is Less Important Than You Think

I moved to Europe almost five years ago and was introduced to the most magical of all things: vacation time. Well, I was not introduced to it directly–I’m self employed, with 100 percent of my contracts based out of the United States. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. But, my husband, neighbors and friends all have, at minimum, four weeks of vacation, plus holidays.

Add perks such as extended, paid maternity leave, 35-hour work weeks, and unemployment that can run for almost two years at 80 percent of salaries, and you’d think you’d located a worker’s paradise where all the employees were happy and engaged.

Except that, when it comes to employee engagement, the United States comes in first place, according to a recently released Gallup Survey. Thirty percent of U.S. employees are engaged, compared to nine percent in France and the Netherlands, 15 percent in Germany, and 17 percent in the UK. The overall world average is 13 percent.

To keep reading, click here: Why Time Off Is Less Important Than You Think

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8 thoughts on “Why Time Off is Less Important Than You Think

  1. I think that part of the issue is that along with the benefits of most European jobs, comes a sense of entitlement to a job. If you think you are entitled, you will naturally be less engaged as you dont see the need to give your all to a position.

  2. I think that Gallup poll is right on the money–a good manager can make a meh job soooo much better, and a crappy one can ruin a terrific job. I still want my time off, though. Having enough to cover any illness or things I want to do is really a motivator for me; I don’t want to feel trapped at my desk.

    Off-topic, but what font is Inc using? It’s horrible–I can barely read your articles.

  3. Europe tends to score higher on overall happiness measures though. Which is better? Being engaged at work or being happy with your life? I’ll take the second one any day.

    Europe seems to get that your life isn’t about your job. Jobs are something you have to do in order to get on with your real life.

    1. I do agree. I work in Europe at the moment and I am happy to enjoy a good work-life balance, which means I can have my full-time job within a corporation and two kids (no nannies, no help whatsoever). Am I happy? Definitely.

  4. I live in the UK and I get something like 24 days a year off and on top of that we have something like 8 public holidays that we get paid for. I personally find it ‘crazy’ how many holidays we get as it’s a very long time when you look at it.

    I can’t complain though, I take them.

  5. My husband currently works 6 days, 60 hours a week with only Fridays considered rest days. There are only 5 paid statutory holidays here in the Middle East and 6 weeks vacation that is taken during school holidays. As a result, he has to be engaged in his work, but also needs the time off to detach himself mentally & physically from the work environment. Despite living overseas, sometimes the only thing that keeps us going is anticipating our next holiday.

  6. 4 weeks vacation to start is great, I do not agree with you, please don’t make excuses we should follow the UK and Europe in vacation time, 2 weeks is not enough.

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