I called it two entries ago. Americans aren’t taking enough vacation to have a satisfying, fulfilling life. According to a CNN story, America is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee its workers annual leave. In fact, employers in the U.S. are not mandated by federal law to offer any paid vacation to their workers. Finland, Brazil and France lead the top guaranteeing their workers six weeks paid vacation.
Where I work, you have to work 15 years before you are awarded five weeks vacation and it tops off at five weeks.
And according to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, working makes Americans happier than Europeans. Americans maximize their happiness by hard work. Europeans maximize their happiness through leisure.
Remember Luca Speghetti in Eat Pray Love? In case you’ve forgotten…
Luca Spaghetti: “Americans. You work too hard, you get burned out. You come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the T.V.”
Liz: “That’s not far off, actually.”
Luca Spaghetti: “But you don’t know pleasure. You have to be told you’ve earned it. You see a commercial that says: ‘It’s Miller Time!’ And you say, That’s right, now I’m going to buy a six pack. And then drink the whole thing and wake up the next morning and you feel terrible. But an Italian doesn’t need to be told. He walks by a sign that says: You deserve a break today. And he says, Yes, I know. That’s why I’m planning on taking a break at noon to go over to your house and sleep…with your wife!”
Mr. Speghetti nailed the difference between the Italians and Americans. One needs to be told to take a break while the other feels like they’ve earned it.
According to the CNN story, Germans think we’re robots that work all the time, the Italians and Mr. Speghetti see us as Miller Beer ads. And Americans think that if we do take a vacation and treat ourselves to a leisurely break that we’re going to lose our jobs.
Where does that leave us today? I’m not quite sure. Except maybe that people need to get out of this mindset of working ourselves into the ground and that once in awhile we need to give our minds a chance to relax and recharge. We might just be more productive if we can learn to take a break every now and then.
CNN is definitely on the mark today. They’re answering my question as to why our brains need a vacation.
And why visiting a new location is a good thing. Did you know that 9 in 10 of Florida’s 80 million annual visitors have been there before? National Park anyone?
They’re insisting on a new travel rule: go to at least one new place every three years.
If I could I’d do it at least once a year.