Taking Vacation Isn’t Just Nice. It’s Your Ethical Obligation!

You know there’s something wrong with the professional world when people hesitate to take their well-earned holidays. Not for financial reasons, not because they’re working on their dream project, and not because they’re completely indispensable to the company. Many people hem and haw over holidays for one nagging reason: guilt.

Across all levels of companies’ supposedly flat hierarchies – and even within those that are more traditionally triangular – people find it difficult to pry themselves away from their ergonomically-challenged desks to have a little downtime. So, if holiday guilt is your game, let’s use it as a lever to get you out the door.

Hear me: taking a holiday isn’t just a fun thing to do when the days are long and warm, it’s your ethical obligation. That’s right, you are morally obliged to take time off.

And how do I figure that? Well, let’s take it as a given that most people try to live by good ethics, i.e. they seek to do no harm to others; they try to improve the world where they can; they respect those around them, and; they do their best to be fair and compassionate.

“Do you adore your job so much that you can’t get enough of it and just can’t stop working? Well then, my friend, you need a hobby.”

It’s laudable and honourable to stick to these general rules, but we can be somewhat blind when it comes to yourself. If it’s your ethics that mean you work too much, you need to have a little re-think. Not only should you treat others with respect and compassion, but this applies to you too. Being kind to yourself means taking time off when you need it.

If you find that a bit wishy-washy and unconvincing, then think about the realistic cost of not taking a vacation to your company. Consider how you work when you’re fresh and relaxed, as compared to how you work when you’ve been working full throttle for months. When are you more likely to do a good job? Don’t you owe it to your boss to be at your best?

If you’re worried about taking a holiday because you’re afraid you can’t afford it, don’t forget that time off doesn’t have to be expensive. You can stay close to home, relax and just take some time to enjoy where you live. Having that vacation might help you to clear your mind and to think differently about what you do, or how you work. You could realise what you need to do next to alleviate some of that pressure you’ve been under.

“Philosophers, ethicists and psychologists all agree that a life unduly focused on just one aspect of living is likely to end up being a sick one. Give your brain a break.”

Do you adore your job so much that you can’t get enough of it and just can’t stop working? Well then, my friend, you need a hobby. To be so unbalanced in how you live your life is not only unhealthy for you, but also hampers your professional performance as you get stuck in the same thought patterns all the time. Thinking and being outside your self-constructed box will be beneficial in the long-term for both you and the company you work for. Philosophers, ethicists and psychologists all agree that a life unduly focused on just one aspect of living is likely to end up being a sick one. Give your brain a break.

If you feel that you have so much work to do that you either a) can’t take time off at all or b) fear leaving your colleagues in the lurch with your extra workload, then you need to take it up with management. It’s up to your boss to make sure that all work is distributed fairly. If you’re struggling with your workload, you need to speak up.

And finally, if you are the boss – or in management – it’s especially important that you take a some time away from the office. Think about it: every so often you need to give those mice a little time to play. Don’t contact your employees while you’re away, and give them the gift of a week without you. Sometimes people just like to be left to get on with it. If people feel like you trust them, and that you’re not looking over their shoulders constantly, it will be better for the overall company culture.

So whatever your reason for not taking your time off, scrap your argument and organise a holiday for yourself. You absolutely deserve it, and I promise, everything will stay standing.

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King is the Editor of the Journal by Jobspotting. Hailing originally from smack-bang in the middle of Ireland, she moved to Berlin in 2014 to join the gang at Jobspotting. Carrie previously worked in journalism and literature. If you want to share thoughts or ideas, get in touch: carrie@jobspotting.com