Having just come off a tough, but interesting week leading a causal investigation in New Orleans, I find myself wishing I had more vacation time available to recharge the old brain cells. I, like most American business people, have two precious weeks per year during which I have to attempt renewal and rejustification from the stresses and tensions of the other 50 weeks of servitude. I have no complaints about my employer, who is generous with personal leave time that allows me to take care of minor appointments and take-junior-to-the-dentist absences, but I do yearn for an approach more like other countries.
Joe Robinson’s article, Vacation Starvation, points out the obvious problem with the corporate U.S. approach to downtime, the “hey, things are tough, we can’t afford you leaving, you should be grateful to have a job” guilt spree that seems too often the modus operandi of corporate managers in denying vacation leave. The article hints at the obvious problem regarding stress build up, but doesn’t go so far as to state that this aversion to letting employees break away is killing us…literally. Stress does mystical things, all bad, to our bods and brains, and vacations are a critical, curative part of the solution to stress disease. We all might as well start calling stress a disease, since it’s now commonly understood that stress can bring about the same physiological problems as that of some textbook diseases. Stress also has the uncanny ability to cause multiple symptoms that defy identification by medical practitioners. I gain great confidence in the mainstream medical profession when I spend big bucks on doctor visits and tests only to have them pronounce, “well, it’s probably stress…try relaxing a bit.”
In the Alternet.org article, Joe mentions at the bottom that he is the founder of the Work to Live Campaign, on the web at http://www.worktolive.info. If this issue speaks to you at all, you owe it to yourself to visit his site. And if stress is your monkey, stay tuned…I’ll be posting some interesting approaches to de-stressing the human existence.