Monday, December 22, 2014

Vacation Frustration


Hi there! I'm Dave-El and this is I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, your online destination for propane and propane accessories.  

I've not been doing a lot of blogging lately owing to a bunch of conflicting obligations, leaving only time to do Broken News (for which I did my FINAL all new post this past Friday) and Doctor Who Weekend (wrapping up my fan fiction, The Son of the Master AND posting my Doctor Who Christmas story). But I guess I have a bit more time for blogging for a week or two.  

As of 6:00 PM last Friday, I am off work until January 2nd, 2015. Now you may wonder how I pulled that off and it comes from simply not taking time off from work through the rest of year, forcing me to burn off some use it or lose it time off. My father in law when he retired from the National Weather Service had so much accumulated vacation time he had not taken, he got a lump sum of money equal to a half of year's pay. I don't know how this works in the public sector today but over in the private sector, I don't think many companies let employees build up vacation time like that. Most companies have a use it or lose it rule. My company allows its employees to carry over 80 hours from one year to the next which is fairly generous compared to other companies but that's it. Anything above those 80 hours is lost. 

One of the reasons I don't take time off is I actually rather like my job. I'm also paranoid enough to think that if I use up all my time too quickly during the year, I won't have it for later if I really need it. And quite frankly I never make use of time off as effectively as I would like. I'm of the mind set that a day off from work is not a day off from everything else and I find myself quite frustrated if a day off from my job is not as productive as I had planned. 

Another thing about time off in the private sector centers around being out sick. There are employers who make a distinction between vacation time and sick time yet it all has a use it or lose it rule. So guess what happens near the end of the year? Otherwise healthy people start calling with "a bad cold" or "the flu" just so they don't lose sick time. This cannot be very conducive to effective staffing and productivity. There are ways around that. My last employer actually offered a money back guarantee on sick time; they would pay you for whatever sick days you didn't take. My current employer does not divide vacation time and sick time; it's all just "paid time off". There's a flexibility of use that is very helpful in maximizing and managing your time off. 

Taking time off from work is not something American workers do very well. Part of it is that American mindset that we should give our all and push ourselves to accomplish our tasks as well as meet and exceed our goals. But another part of that is fear: fear that if a company realizes that they can get along just fine without you for a few days or a week, they might realize they don't need you at all. Even in a strong American economy, there is this constant state of dread, a lack of long term security when it comes to employment. So when the axe comes down (and it's always a question of when, not if), maybe it won't come down on you if you're always there.  That's a lot of pressure and it's a wonder that more American workers don't have ulcers the size of dinner plates. 

So I'm taking a chance that over the next two weeks, my employer doesn't think, "We can do this without David" too many times.  

So, end of year vacation....yay?   

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Coming up on the blog this week:

Tuesday
No one wants to "let the bastards win". But do we have a choice? A look at the Sony hack and US relations with Cuba. Sounds like fun, huh? I'll see if I can toss in a few jokes. 

Wednesday
Christmas is coming! It's practically here! But are we all too worn out from Christmas to enjoy Christmas? 

Thursday
Christmas Day means Christmas Dinner but I've reached an age where I can't eat all I can eat. What? More on that on Thursday. 

Friday
Last week was the final ALL NEW installment of Broken News. This Friday, I post for the final time under the Broken News banner as I reflect on what the heck I was doing, why I was doing, what I enjoyed about and why I decided it was time to go. 

Saturday
Christmas Day sees a new Doctor Who special. Here is where I will post my review of said special. 

Then I take a break for Sunday and Monday. But on next Tuesday, December 30th, I present my 600th blog post

And on January 1st, 2015, it's an ALL NEW year for I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Thank you and everyone, be good to one another.  

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