No One Can Own Me: A Rant

No One Can Own Me - picture of back of woman standing in field with arms outstretched a little

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Yesterday, I wrote about how Greg failed miserably in his new career in sales.  And, it’s okay.  It was a learning experience, if anything, and now we know for sure that Greg doesn’t want to move into a career in sales.  So, since he left his new job last week, he’s been looking around to see what else is out there.  And unfortunately, there are some crazy employers out there with some whacked out expectations for their workers.

First of all, there are quite a lot of available jobs out there that offer reasonable pay and benefits.  Of course, no job is perfect.  Some careers require that you work on weekends or evenings.  Others offer less-than-stellar pay or feature other inconveniences that make them less than attractive.  But still, there really are plenty of normal jobs that offer normal pay, hours, and benefits.

Then there are jobs that just plain suck. 

Example #1

Greg: “Here’s a job that might be available.  It looks good aside from the fact that they don’t offer any vacation.”

Me: “No Vacation?  WTF?  What is this?  Industrial China?”

Greg: “Ummmmm……”

Me:  “I mean, seriously.   That’s not even humane!  No vacation?  NONE???!!??!!”

Greg: *hides under desk*

Me:  “What are they going to ask next?  Maybe you could just sleep there too!  Hell, you could share a bunk with another co-worker and just trade in and out to sleep every twelve hours.  What an amazing deal for our family!!!!!!!!!”


Can you tell that this made me angry?  I mean, those who know me best know to steer the conversation away from these three hot topics:

  • the for-profit healthcare industry in the U.S.
  • the lack of government-mandated paid maternity leave or time off
  • the fact that employers in the U.S. aren’t required to offer ANY vacation to their employees

And, it’s pretty much common knowledge that the U.S. is trailing behind all industrialized countries in these matters.  According to this Huffington Post article, 23 percent of workers in the U.S. are offered ZERO paid vacation days per year.  Zero!  Furthermore, out of the majority of advanced economies in the world (including European countries, Australia, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand), the U.S. remains the only one that doesn’t have any sort of policy mandating vacation for its workers.

You Can’t Own Me

Listen, the chance of Greg taking a job that offers no vacation is absolutely zero.  I would rather be poor and live under a bridge then have my husband be a modern day wage -lave, working 52 weeks out of the year for an employer that is obviously out of touch with reality.  We are human beings….people.  We have family and friends…. hobbies and dreams.  And although Greg might get a regular job, there’s no chance in hell that we’re willing to give up our whole life just so that we can make more money.

Also, why do we, as citizens of humanity, accept this?  Why do we allow for-profit businesses to treat us as if we aren’t supposed to have personal interests or our own time to pursue those interests?  When are we going to stop giving the majority of our lives to our jobs while trying to create a real life out of the scraps of time we have left?

They can take that job and shove it.  Why?

Because no one can own me.

How much vacation do you get at work?  Do you wish you had more?  How much vacation do you think is reasonable?

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  1. I get 2.5 weeks per year of just vacation + unlimited sick, Mr PoP gets 4 of vacation + sick combined. But the number doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like you can use it.

    Playing devil’s advocate: From an employer’s perspective, just because they don’t have a paid vacation policy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible to take vacation. You just won’t get paid during it. So in addition to budgeting travel spending, you’d need to budget for the income drop as well. Just one more thing to plan for.

    1. I’m not going to go into details here…but this employer doesn’t offer any paid or unpaid vacation. No vacation. We know that because we know people who have worked there before. Unpaid vacation would be fine. And yes, I realize that I would have to budget for unpaid vacation. I pretty much understand how that works.

  2. Is that even legal? I used to get 5 weeks plus 10 bank holidays plus unlimited sick days. Wouldn’t take anything under 4 weeks and even then feel like it’s not much.

    1. It is totally legal in the good ol’ U.S.A.! No one has to offer any vacation, paid or unpaid.

  3. I’m right there with you that you need some kind of balance. I can also see Mrs. Pop’s point that an employer might allow you to take vacation, just not pay you for it. I’m not exactly sure where I stand on whether government should mandate some amount. On the one hand, companies offer different benefits all of the time and that’s part of what makes our free market work. You guys ruling out all companies that don’t offer paid vacation is a good example of them losing out on talent because of their policies. But other people aren’t in as flexible of a position as you guys and might be more forced to take a job with no time off. I don’t really think it’s healthy to work 52 weeks per year, or at least to be forced to, and therein lies my uncertainty on government’s role.

    Personally, in my sweet little 4-person company we have pretty much no official policies on anything. We take vacation when we want and as long as we don’t abuse it our boss is cool. Days off here and there, needing to come in late or leave early for an appointment or something like that is all cool too. It’s a pretty great setup.

    1. Ditto, Matt. Holly, being at home now for so long, I totally agree with you about not having anyone own you. I think once you work for yourself, the thought of going back to traditional employment can be a bit traumatizing. 🙂 It’s so great having control over your time, isn’t it?

    2. This particular employer doesn’t offer paid or unpaid vacation.

      I’m not for government mandating everything at all, but I do think that workers should have certain protections and guarantees.

  4. I got very lucky as I get a little over four weeks of vacation. I have many friends who only get two weeks and will only get three weeks after five years, four after ten, etc. I don’t really think government intervention is the answer. I think reacting the way you do to these jobs is the best solution. If people won’t take jobs unless they offer PTO then the employers will have to adjust their offerings.

    1. I disagree! Throughout history, the federal government has enacted protections that kept workers from being injured or killed on the job, paid slave-like wages, etc. This is just a modern day version of that.

    2. I guess like the price of a plastic bag at the supermarket is built in the price of the item you buy, your holidays are calculated into your pay package. I may be taking less holidays if you tell me you will pay me $50,000 and if I want a month holiday I stop earning $4,000 than if you pay me $46,000 with a month holiday.

  5. Great rant Holly!

    I can’t believe what some employers will try and get away with. It’s no wonder that more and more workers are looking for other ways to earn money on the side. There really is no incentive to work your life away and you know, maybe that’s a good thing in the long run. Hopefully, workers will begin to feel really unsatisfied and unsettled enough to strike out on their own. Until then however, workers put up with a lot because they simply need the work to live.

    I totally agree with your statement “your job should revolve around your life” – unfortunately, not many people are in such a position. Suddenly, I feel very, very fortunate. Thank you!

    Take care and all the best.


    1. Thanks Lyle! Yes, I agree that people put up with it because they need jobs to live. Been there!

  6. Great writing, Holly. It took me 40 years to come to this conclusion, but you are right: We work to love, not live to work. IT is important to remember and live by this. We aren’t going to wish we worked more on our deathbeds!

  7. As a prof, I’m expected to be working all the time, but I get to choose when and where for the most part. If I were more productive, I could work fewer hours and nobody would notice. I’m only paid on a 9 month salary unless I get summer money.

    1. On my last vacation, I was named an honorary citizen of Canada!!!! Europe would be great too!

  8. Tell us how you really feel, Holly! 😉 But I get where you’re coming from. I hate the attitude from some employers that their employees should be grateful to have a job and therefore work all kinds of hours for no extra pay and forgo benefits. It’s why I stash money into my FOAD fund.

  9. That’s ridiculous. I used to work a job (actually it was my first career, the one I went to school for..oops) where the industry standard was two weeks paid vacation (which would never increase) and they made you feel guilty as hell for ever trying to use it. Now that I’ve made the switch to banking (YAY!), I STARTED with 18 days PTO plus all bank holidays (which are paid). And as long as there’s enough people there to run the bank, no one really cares when you take your PTO days.

  10. Sadly, in the new job that I’ve just started working in, there will be no vacation. Also I already know that I will be working a few weekends in the near future.

    This will be pretty hard I guess, but I hope that the experience I will gain from this will be worth it. It is only for a limited amount of time, so I chose to give it a try. I think it is different if you *have* to take a job because you depend on it, or if you can choose it, weigh the pros and cons and decide freely. In my case, right now I am pretty optimistic about this, but maybe this will change in a few months 🙂

    1. I think I could do it if it were temporary! At least then you know that you will have more options in the future.

  11. Wow that is CRAZY! My employer is notorious for the crappy benefits offered to employees, but we still have our government mandated two weeks of vacation and one year of parental leave with 60% wages.

    I think you have the right mind set. No job is worth giving up your life for.

  12. Preach it Holly! At my last job I got a total of 3 weeks sick/vacation, but you were looked down upon if you really took anything more than a week in the year. The kicker was they capped you at 3.5 weeks and if you didn’t use the overage you’d just lose it. Sounds great for the company right?? That’s just what I want as a business owner…a bunch of miserable slaves because I won’t allow them away from their desks.

    There are quite a number of things that I think we could benefit greatly from following someone like Europe in and this issue is chief among them. Life is just way too short to be chained to your job.

  13. There is very little that I advocate the government mandating. And as you said, the employers ARE the job creators. It sounds like you have a great deal of resentment for employers/corporations etc. and appear to feel they are the bad guys. I suggest that the best outcome for you would be for your husband to be self-employed. Find something he loves to do and then earn a living doing that. Whether it be starting up a house cleaning company, or a landscaping business, or anything else you can think of. Then you would positively be in position to dictate your own benefits, vacation etc. and certainly wouldn’t be owned by anyone else.

    1. Kathy, you’re wrong. LOTS of people are job creators, not just big companies or corporations. Lots of people create their own jobs through self-employment. Obviously I am one of them.

      And yes, that is definitely a possibility for my husband. Definitely not landscaping or house cleaning but he does have a lot of talents. Did you read the word “rant” on this post? I was ranting about a specific job that offers no vacation, paid or unpaid. That’s what a rant is.

  14. I get around 4 weeks of vacation at my work. However, when I worked as a retail manager, I actually got ZERO. I worked there for over 5 years and was never offered vacation. Let me tell you, not taking a vacation for 5 years was tough.

  15. Here in Holland the legal minimum is 4 weeks, but 5 weeks is standard, + bank holidays. Older employees (I think 40+) get a few days extra. I recall my dad (58) had 8 weeks of vacation last year! In Holland we can sell some of our vacation days to the employer, so my dad sold 2 weeks and got a nice extra pay for that, while still having 6 weeks off 🙂 We don’t have sick days, but when we call in sick we still get paid.

  16. I worked for many, many years for an employer who gave all of his managers 2 weeks per year for vacation, and then made it clear that unless something dire were going on in your life, you weren’t to take it. And he was very honest about the fact that his company was his life, and he expected it to be yours as well. To say the least, it was not a good work environment!

    I worked for another employer who discovered the power of “interns”. He got the fabulous idea of creating a variety of intern positions, so he could hire people to do full time positions without paying them, or in some cases paying them very little. College students who were desperate for experience would take these positions, enabling the company to fill positions for free. It made me furious. As an added bonus for him, their lack of experience meant he could convince them to do questionable, sometimes illegal things. We’re talking accountants, editors, etc. that he was using this trick on. I made the most I’ve ever made working at that company, but I stayed a very short time. No amount of money is worth putting up with an immoral employer!

    1. That’s crazy!

      They got two weeks but weren’t allowed to take it? WTH?

      1. I think it’s a lot more common than people realize. You just assume when you’re offered vacation time that you are allowed to take it. But it was definitely frowned upon, and most often you were “punished” if you did take it (we were all salaried, so getting scheduled a ridiculous number of hours for the next month, etc). There were several times I planned a few days off, and even though I’d asked for the time off months in advance, I was told the week before that I couldn’t take the time off. It was always “The business would suffer” excuse, even if you planned it during the down time, and there was no reason you couldn’t be off. It sucked!

  17. Not offering any vacation time is a recipe for employee burn out and then turnover. Turnover is the worst thing for an office, so I’m not sure why anyone would subscribe to that philosophy.

    There must be people who take those type jobs or no one would offer them. It’s a pipe dream, but if we all minded our money the way we should, there would be lots more choice in the matter.

    1. Yes, there must be!

      The weird thing about this job in particular is that it’s a professional job that requires a college degree.

  18. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    I’m not really sure what the vacation/sick time works out to for me. It’s based on hours worked and I never bothered to do the math. I just take time off as I need it, and don’t really worry too much beyond that. I guess I’m not too bothered by the state of vacation time in America since I fully believe one should be appreciative of the opportunity to provide a service to the company they work for and if we are really unhappy with the place of employment we can look elsewhere. No one is really forcing us to stay.

    Plus, I see jobs as a temporary solution to a permanent problem anyway…best to use what time we do have outside work to create a passive income that allows us to walk away from employment if that’s what we want.

    1. Well, that’s a great pipe dream but unfortunately everyone cannot be self-employed or have passive income. That just isn’t realistic. Not everyone will be able to reach financial independence. Many people will work their whole lives and never be able to retire.

      1. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

        You’re right. Not everyone will be able to create a passive income, though technically it is possible. It’s a simple matter of choice, and most chose not to. One of my biggest goals in life is to give as many people as possible the chance to do so.

        1. It isn’t always a matter of choice. Lots of people were born poor and had limited opportunities and education growing up. Not everyone gets to choose the whole outcome of their lives and many people struggle due to circumstances that are entirely out of their control.

          Lots of people choose to be poor and work in low wage jobs, but many people do not choose this life. Once in the grasp of poverty, it’s hard to find a way out. It’s a lot easier to have a lifetime of financial stability when you didn’t begin your life in poverty in the first place.

          1. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

            Again, I completely agree with you. Lots of people in poverty (and those who aren’t living in poverty) don’t always get the opportunities that others have access to. But there /are/ opportunities. They may not go from rags-to-riches, but going from rags-to-improved is entirely possible. Lots of times people simply don’t see the opportunities around them, and I believe it’s my job in life to help those who want the opportunity to succeed. I’ve met many people who grew up in poverty and raised themselves out of it. It’s a mindset issue, not necessarily an income issue.

            You’re also right when it comes to having things happen that are out of our control. Everyone has events that are beyond our control, but our direction in life as a whole is determined by how we react to those challenges.

  19. The best part is that companies who “get it” are the ones who end up with the bigger profits, better press and easier time dealing with workforce issues. Why would you want to make life suck for your employees?

  20. Holly! What it means is that the US has its head completely up its ass when it comes to ideas about work. We suck. If you aren’t dragging your testicles on the concrete, you are not working in this country. I am glad to see a community of people saying EFF that!

    We work for ourselves, so we take off when we please, but it is not often since we like getting paid. Even so, what would be reasonable to me is a week every other month.

    That’s right. I said it. How do we expect humans to work at optimal capacity when they are all overweight and tired and very, very angry?

    1. Well, that’s one way to put it! I don’t have any testicles to drag on the concrete, but I do agree. Working year round at the expense of your own dreams is seen as a virtue in this country.

  21. So, I’m 2 years into my job and haven’t had a vacation yet. I earned 1 week the first year and 2 weeks last year so, I’ve got 3 weeks racked up. The only problem is, as the manager says, “You’re too valuable, maybe when things slow down a bit we can approve your vacation time.”. Uhhhgggg! Well, I hope I get one soon, I’m working myself to exhaustion for sure!

  22. I don’t think vacation should be required. Vacation is something employers offer to lure talent. If you are good at what you do you can find a place with great benefits. I don’t like the idea of the government mandating it. In fact I don’t like the idea of the government mandating a lot of things, but that a different rant for a different.

    You can disagree with my opinion and I know you do, but that is how I feel.

    Personally I get 3 weeks vacation and 48 sick hours a year. I can roll over 40 of each (get paid out anything above that 40) so if I plan well and have a healthly year I could take 6 weeks off.

    1. Hey, Brian! All opinions are welcome, as always!

      I like the idea of what you’re saying…that business should use benefits like vacation to lure talent. However, what about the millions of people who work in low-skilled jobs? They’re already working for low pay and usually no benefits? Do you think it’s fair that millions of people should never be able to experience the feeling of a week off of work?

      I don’t.

      Of course, people will say that they should all “go back to school” and “work harder” and everything, but that isn’t always feasible or possible. It breaks my heart that people in this country are willing to have a slave race that works for poverty wages, no benefits, and no vacation.

      1. I don’t think it is fair, and it pains me to say it but Life isn’t fair. I know it comes across as cruel and heartless sounding, but vacation is a fairly new concept for most of the world (just like retirement). Just because it exists and you are alive doesn’t mean you are entitled to it.

        Would it be great if companies would do the right thing and give people time off and better benefits? Absolutely! I would on board with companies doing this on their own. Some companies do this already and I applaud them for it. I just don’t want more governmental mandates.

        1. In fact I would be willing to pay more for products and services so companies could offer these benefits to their employees.

          1. Me too, Brian. I wish that that information was readily available. I try to steer clear of businesses who are known to treat their employees like crap, like Walmart.

            I’m definitely willing to pay more for services and products offered by companies who treat their employees like human beings.

  23. I work in the public sector so I have a good amount of vacation time. I started off with 3 weeks and now have about 4 weeks. My wife was working at a preschool and she was paid hourly and had paid vacation time. And no she did not have summers off either.

  24. Couldn’t agree more with ya Holly.

    I think you bring up the most valid part and that’s that most people accept it. Why? Because employers don’t have to give a rat’s ass when the employee needs the employer more than the other way around. Thus, even more argument for the fight to establish a healthy emergency fund along with overall financial well-being so we can choose what we want.

    When word got around to fellow employees at a former job that I was quitting and moving to Australia, they were flabbergasted. Every-single-one asked me how I could do it. Simple – No debt and cash in the bank. Most responded in shock that I had no debt. I felt like there was a twinge of jealousy and frustration, but primarily because I controlled my life and they didn’t control their own.

    Long story short, we should all put ourselves in a position so we don’t have to accept something that is unacceptable. Save folks, SAVE.

    The Warrior

    1. That is a great point. When you have enough savings, you don’t have to take a job that you don’t really want.

  25. I’m a little bit shocked at the 23% who don’t receive any vacation days – that’s an incredibly high number. As great as our country is, we do have a skewed view when it comes to vacations. So much less than other comparable countries and even places where vacation is offered, you don’t always feel comfortable taking it. We need time away to rest and recharge. It makes us better employees! In California, employers have time payout any unused PTO so hopefully that makes employers more accommodating towards vacations because they are going to be on the hook regardless.

  26. Rant well received. When I’ve looked at ads on CL and other job boards, I’m fucking blown away but what (for my line of work) software and experience employers are looking for for such little pay, or even (I really can’t fucking believe it) for free! I think that’s why I finally just gave up and started to blaze my own path with being a full on entrepreneur. Yes I don’t have any paid vacations, but I’m doing thing my way. I could go on and on about how I watch people get stomped on and kicked around by clients (I’m talking freelancers here) who demand they be on call 24/7. People don’t realize that it can and will happen as a freelancer too if they let people treat them that way. It’s hard to create and maintain those boundaries, but the alternative is just too much.

    1. I don’t have paid vacations either, obviously, but I do have more freedom being self-employed. The trade-off is more than worth it, IMO.

  27. No vacation? I’m sorry, just no. No, no, no, no, no. I’d have to be pretty desperate for work to take a job like that.

    Love the rant, Holly :).

    1. Me too! I would do it if I had to. That’s the only way.

  28. That is UNACCEPTABLE. One of the things I don’t understand about America.

    We legally are entitled to four weeks off a year in NZ. That’s civilised, IMO.

  29. Honey Smith says:

    I hear ya sister! One of my pet peeves is actually employers who offer paid time off (PTO) rather than separate sick and vacation time. I get 12 sick days and 22 vacation days per year. Sick time carries over with no limitations (I can accrue unlimited sick time). Although I don’t get paid out for them if I leave my job or am asked to leave, if I make it until retirement I get cashed out. The max carryover for vacation time is 33 days, but I do get paid for up to one year’s accrual (22 days) if I leave or am asked to leave, or at retirement.

    I have 150 hours of vacation and 95 hours of sick time at the moment.

      1. Honey Smith says:

        September, baby! Can’t come soon enough 😉

  30. Honey Smith says:

    I also get all federal holidays automatically.

  31. I had no idea that there were full-time benefited positions that didn’t offer vacation. Crazy.

    That being said, I don’t think it is the government’s place to mandate it. If someone is willing to work with no vacation, so be it. It is within your rights to refuse a job without certain benefits, so what is the harm.

    *Please don’t yell at me.* 😉

    1. Be careful with that.

      Ya know, some people are willing to work for almost nothing. If we don’t mandate that for-profit businesses treat their employees like human beings, the entire wage system will turn into a huge rush to the bottom. Then we’ll all be living in communal housing and eating Soylent Green. Hey, but at least we’ll be “FREE,” right?

  32. I get a good amount of vacation, so I am good, but that is part of the negotiation for me. If you don’t offer it, then you aren’t even on my radar. The problem is that employers know that they are the ones in control at this point. With so many out of work, they have a large pool of applicants and they will find the one that would take it.

    1. Yep, that’s a great point! If you really NEED a job, you may have to take something without vacation and employers know that.

  33. I didn’t even know that was legal, what a joke! I get about 3 weeks of vacation a year, which is plenty for me. I know some people who get only about a week. And then I know some other people who get unlimited vacation. It varies so much!

  34. I get paid two weeks vacation and it raises to 3 weeks at 5 years. Pretty standard. The highest it gets to is 6 weeks around here. I would like to see your post about paid maternity leave 🙂 I feel the same way!!! Thank you for mentioning it. American companies can be greedy little bastards.

    1. I actually did get paid maternity leave – 6 weeks at half pay – but my employer wasn’t required to offer anything because I worked at a business with less than 50 employees.
      Maternity benefits in the U.S. aren’t even comparable to other countries. Lots of countries get 8 or 9 months or even a year off!

  35. You GO, Holly! We are self-employed and take all of the school holidays off paid (winter break/Christmas, three days at Thanksgiving, Labor and Memorial Day, spring break). We do not get paid when we take a week or ten days in the summer which is our choice because we can offer make-up lessons. The families we work with understand and pay us for our days off because when we are there, we are present and giving 100% to them. We charge a monthly rate rather than by-the-lesson which benefits them when there are five Wednesdays in a month, so they don’t pay more. I don’t think I could ever work for a boss again. I like being my own boss.

  36. Garbage! I’ve had at least 2 weeks + 5 sick days at ALL my full-time jobs. Now at 3 weeks + unlimited sick days. Honestly, the U.S. work far more than almost any other country, and guess what, we also spend more on self-help and anti-depressants than ANYONE. Why?

    Because we work too damn much and neglect living our actual lives!!!!!!!

    All that to say, I’m 100% on board with you.

    1. Yes, exactly. But, somehow we’re all brainwashed to think that it’s normal!

  37. I think employers *should* offer at least 2 weeks vacation, but I’m on the fence about it being a government mandate. While the job you ranted on would likely be forced to offer it, low-wage poverty level jobs would likely cut hours enough that they weren’t “full time” and then not entitled to it anyways. Now, if you required it regardless (1 hr/day vacation earned every X hours/days worked), then I’m down, I just worry about the unintended consequences for the minimum wage base.

    I work in California, so while my employer doesn’t have to offer me vacation, they do because their hiring and retention would be total crap otherwise. Once they offer vacation, it is considered part of your compensation and can’t be lost, so they have to allow rollover or pay it out. They DO have to offer maternity leave though. They don’t have to pay for it, but California has a mandatory state disability tax in addition to income tax that covers maternity, and pays 60% from up to 3 weeks before your due date and goes 12 weeks after you give birth, plus another 6 weeks at 55% for parental bonding if you’ve been with your employer at least a year. Oh, and they have to keep subsidizing your health benefits at whatever rate they do when you’re working. The crappy part is everyone in CA pays into it, so if I would take a job in another state I couldn’t use it, and men only get the 6 weeks at 55%, and both programs require a 1 week waiting period that is fully unpaid.

    1. Hey, I like the idea of people earning X many hours of vacation per hours worked. That way, employers couldn’t turn everyone into a part-time worker to avoid paying for vacation like they’ve done with healthcare!

  38. That’s insane. I had no idea employer in the U.S. could get away with that. And I used to complain that two weeks vacation was ridiculous.

  39. As a teacher, I work 3/4 of the day, get a lot of holidays off and the summers off! Could I have more time off? I doubt it.

  40. I get one week of vacation per year……and a very shitty pay….I hate my job. This is how I feel though you said it perfectly. I work a shitty job with no benefits, no sick pay, no vacation days, no perks whatsoever and all for a measily pay.

    But, I am so excited. This week I made more online that I do an entire month at my job!!!! That job is about to be canned!!!

  41. LeRainDrop says:

    I get unlimited paid vacation! Okay, before you get even the least bit jealous, let me explain. We have to work a minimum of 2400 hours per year, which typically ends up being more in practice, for an admittedly handsome salary. When you do the math, however, you’ll find this is quite a heavy workload because if you want to ever take a holiday or any vacation days, you must still make up that work time on other days. We end up working tons of nights and weekends. And if the clients (or your colleagues) need you, they need you, and that means your personal plans are pretty much off the table. I haven’t had an actual vacation in two years now. The only takes I’ve taken off since then were to help my parents clean out their house of 30 years to get it ready for sale.

    1. Awwww….man… Sounds like you need a vacation!!!!

  42. That is depressing. I would never take a job that didn’t offer time off in some capacity. Currently, my job offers one week and then I think four sick days or something like that. I think after two years you are eligible for two weeks, but I don’t think anyone really takes it. They told me up front they didn’t really like people taking a full week off, and that most take 3 or 4 day weekends. F that! I worked my full year there without taking ANY days off whatsoever (unlike everyone else who started after me) and I am taking off today through next week. I need a damn break. Our bosses really do expect us to be there all the time no matter what, and have said before that if you like taking tons of vacations this isn’t the industry for you. My mom worked for the county and always had tons of time off, at least five weeks, and they weren’t really allowed to give them crap for it as long as it was approved in the beginning of the year.

  43. I get four weeks of vacation annually but it took me 15 years to get there. Despite all that a lot of time I feel my company has too much sway over my life. I would like self employment one day like you have Holly.

    1. It isn’t that bad. Now my only problem is that I work during all of my vacations!

  44. PTO is one of the benefits of working for someone else. After all, when you work for yourself, you typically don’t get vacation. I’ve never had a “professional” job with less than 5 weeks PTO a year, but that is standard in my industry. It’s an ethical bribe to convince you to work the slave hours you put in the rest of the year, in my opinion. My husband, when he worked, was in retail. He rarely had a job that offered PTO. He could take time off but it was unpaid.

    1. I wouldn’t mind if Greg took a job with some unpaid leave. That way, we could at least go somewhere!

        1. That’s what we’ve been told! Sounds like paid slavery to me!

  45. As a self employed individual, I NEVER get any sick days nor do I get any paid holiday.

    If I can’t show up at the gig, then I don’t get paid.

    This may seem awful to most, but the show must go on. (With or without you)

    1. Yep, same with me. I think it’s worth it though!

  46. For me it really depends on the PTO hours I have accumulated. If I have enough hours to take 8 weeks in a year, I can. No limitations as long as it is not 8 consecutively. Probably 4 at a time. I always tell them if I am visiting family in Kenya, there is no way am paying all that fare to go for 2 weeks only. I do not know how it will be when I get a new job though.

    1. Sounds like you have a pretty good deal right now!

  47. US employers aren´t required to offer ANY vacation? WHAT THE ??????
    We get 25 paid days of vacation i.e 5 weeks vacation, and then there are all the religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, and various Christian holidays, and then there are bank holidays.. So yeah, we´re pretty lucky I guess!

    1. I know. Isn’t that crazy? This country is messed up in so many ways….

  48. No vacation?! That is really inhumane. Even here in our place where jobs are not all reasonable, we still get a few vacation pays a year. I can’t believe US rules do not require employers to give their employees a vacation pay.

  49. I don’t get paid vacations or sick days. I’m a casual worker (but work anywhere from 65 to 80 hours in 2 weeks). To get my last vacation days I had to work 104 hours in 10 days. It was worth it for the 8 days off. I’m in Canada and have lived in England and we are all amazed at how little time they give you guys for vacations and maternity. Don’t they know content workers are more productive?

  50. I’m seeing companies now that offer open vacation policies – you can take as much as you want, as long as your work is done. I foresee companies like that getting the “cream of the crop” when it comes to employees.

  51. Couldn’t he just take unpaid leave when he needs or wants a holiday?

    It sux that many companies don’t offer paid leave, but if the government doesn’t enforce it then it’s understandable.

    Having said that though, if the government does enforce it, many employers will probably just lower the wages to adjust for it so the employee may not be any better off.

  52. I get a ton of vacation at work. Paid for 12 month contracts, work only 9 months out of the year. 😀 The joys of teaching college. I’m going to miss it!

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