My theory on workplace vacation

When you are young and starting a new job, you are usually given a small amount of vacation. For the sake of argument, lets say it’s one week. Like most of us, what do we do? We use all of it, like it was part of our job description! That’s not a bad thing at all, you are young, you want to get away from the job every now and then and have fun! The problem arises when you use up all that vacation. It’s such a small amount! How could you possibly have enough fun for an entire year on one week of vacation? Easy! There’s an incentive. The more years you put in at the company, the faster you accrue vacation! “Hey!”, as you say to yourself, “That’s lame! I wish I had more vacation now so I could have more fun!” The company then tells you, “Be patient, young grasshopper, if you stick with us for 20 years, you’ll accrue five weeks per year!”

That’s such a long time to wait. While I can’t speak for all older people… as a younger person I have noticed that a vast majority of the older people in my company never use their vacation. This doesn’t make any sense right? You are eager to use it while you are young but have so little to use. I then see older people who don’t want to use any of it when they are accruing so much and then complain when they are forced to use their vacation┬ábecause they are about to reach the maximum amount of vacation hours you can accrue.

I whipped up a diagram that explains this better:

Vacation accrual

Vacation usage based on age

With this is mind, what I suggest is that it should be the reverse! You should accrue the most amount of vacation when you start the company and it be reduced as the years go by. By the time you get old enough, you don’t care about it, so it all equals out and everyone is happy! There are many other possibilities too like: having a fixed amount of vacation, having no cap, etc.

I’m sure that not all people are in this boat but it sure makes sense to me! I’d be glad to hear comments.

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