Many Americans, myself included, tend to cheat themselves out of valuable vacation time.  We get so caught up in doing the job we forget we earned vacation time as part of our pay.  You wouldn't leave any of your pay on your bosses desk so why should you leave vacation time on that same desk?  Your employer may find it inconvenient when you schedule vacation but in the long run you will be a better employee for taking the vacation time you've earned.

Most Americans with full-time jobs earned 12-14 days of vacation, Canadians earned 16 days while the average European earns 25-30 days a year.  We as Americans earn less than others in the so-called civilized world and we use fewer of the vacation days we've earned.  I can't figure it out.  Why do we use less days than earned and why don't we demand more days than workers in other countries?  Do we feel guilty for "goofing off" or do we think the company will realize we are dispensable?  In the past I have felt a little of both but I've gotten over those feelings. What I do to earn a living some people might consider to be goofing off but it is very stressful.  As far as being dispensable I have no worries because I have left jobs for one reason or another and the business worked fine after I left.

I think we are driven as Americans to succeed and therefore we want to make sure we put all of our efforts into our work....even if it kills us!  After two heart surgeries and prostate cancer surgery I value my time a lot more than I did 10 years ago.  I just came back from four days in Gulf Shores, Alabama and I can assure you that I feel rested with no guilt!

True the weather was too cold to even sit on the beach but I did have plenty of down-time with a couple of movies thrown in.  Took some pictures, strolled the beach with Kathy and had some memorable meals with my sister-in-law and her husband.

I urge you to use all your vacation time.  Plan it and use it even if you can't afford it monetarily.  Your vacation will pay for itself in more ways than one.