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The Big Mistake Half of Workers Make

January 26, 2017 at 5:00 AM

A recent survey reports that 52% of workers who were eligible for paid vacation last year, didn’t use all their available time off.

I think that’s a mistake. One of the biggest threats to your career is becoming so burned out that you not only hate your job, but the quality of your work begins to decline. And don’t for a second think that you can “hide” your burnout from your colleagues, and especially your manager. They will see it, feel it, and be impacted by it. That not only will make for strained relations in your day-to-day work environment, but it also makes you vulnerable to being overlooked for a promotion, or at the extreme, being laid off. And if you run your own business, vacations are doubly important. If you have employees, a rested, revitalized you is going to be a much better boss. And by giving our brain the time to decompress you will come back with more energy and insights into how to drive your business forward. Vacations should be a part of every business plan.

So don’t you dare make the mistake of thinking being a workaholic is a smart career move. No, no, no!

Here’s how to work on a smart vacation strategy.

Beware the Rollover Trap. Many employers allow employees to roll over any unused vacation days into the following year. I get that some people are strategically saving up time for a big break. Just be careful. Not taking any vacation days so you have more next year, or the year can really backfire on you if it makes you a grump at work.

Put in for Time Off. I want you to request time off for at least one-third of your allotted vacation days, right now. I’d suggest taking all the vacation time you are entitled to, but I am making a concession to any of you who are strategically bankrolling time for next year.

It’s early in the year, so pull out a calendar, figure out some chunks of time, and then put in for the days off. By taking the formal step of requesting the time off you are committing to the vacation time.

Don’t Apologize for Vacation Time. Even if you are surrounded by workaholics, don’t be at all apologetic for your time off. You are the smart and healthy trendsetter.

Too Broke to Travel? So What. If you can’t afford a bona fide getaway, don’t use that as an excuse to just keep working. Plan a staycation that is all about you. Whether its sleeping in and binge watching, making it to an exercise class a few times, or cleaning out your closets, you know there are plenty of things you’d love to “do” if only you had the time. Well, you do have the time. Vacation time. It’s one of the smartest career moves you can make.

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