THE BLOG
11/30/2014 11:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Non-Voyage: 5 Reasons to Let Your Vacation Expire Unused This Year

Bob takes pride in being a truly great soldier of industry. He is first to arrive and last to leave his Santa Monica office every day (most weekends included) and eats almost every meal at his desk. He completes all his projects on time at all costs. He hasn't taken a full day off in over a year and really feels he is a lock for promotion this coming year. With all that time spent, how could he not be?

2014-11-25-woman_with_desk_paper_covered.pngAccording to politico.com, Americans are only using 77 percent of their available vacation time, gifting a total of $52.4 billion to American businesses every year. Another survey by Expedia.com reveals that Americans are only consuming 10 out of their average 14 vacation days available. Finally, a March 2014 study by glassdoor.com shows that about one-third of Americans took none of their available vacation time during the past year. Here are five reasons why they and Bob are on the right track:

1. A greater ability to focus: It's amazing how much choosing work over alternative pastimes simplifies your life. You become a master of your routine, arriving at work having already planned your entire day on the way without having noticed a tree, like you're your own robot chauffer. What's more, as days and months pass and you experience more anger, anxiety, and depression, fewer and fewer people will call on you to be part of their lives. Marriages, friendships, and recreation are pesky intrusions with which you may no longer need to trifle.

A University of North Carolina study shows that marriages among workaholics have a divorce rate twice as high as they otherwise would.

2. You won't have as high expectations to live up to: And ironically, as the complexities of your life dwindle, and you're able to spend more time at work, you'll become famous for being disorganized, short-sighted, unable to delegate, sleep deprived, and missing appointments and other obligations. As people demand less and less, you will certainly find the added time and focus you'll need to perform at a higher level.

A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

There are an enormous number of managers who have retired on the job. -- Peter Drucker

3. You will reduce your expenses: There are so many opportunities for the ultra-dedicated to drastically reduce their cost of living. For example, as your wellbeing becomes less and less of a priority, for the same amount you'd pay for one salad at the lunchroom cafeteria, you'll get five Texas Cinnamon Rolls from the vending machine. Those things are gi-normous! Think of the value! Statistically, you will also be more likely to skip annual check-ups or schedule time with the doctor should the cinnamon rolls not provide the bleeding-edge nutrition they intend. Heck and when you start to actually skip meals, think of all the extra cash you will have to spend with all the time you don't have.

2014-11-25-Cinnamon_Buns.pngAccording to WebMD, 75 to 90 percent of all doctor's visits are for ailments or complaints linked to stress, and Graeme Cowan, author of The Elephant in the Boardroom: Getting Mentally Fit For Work, claims that 34 percent of lost productivity is caused by stress or depression disorders.

4. You'll walk around high as a kite, and people will applaud you for it: As you spend more and more time at work and your aforementioned propensity to organize your tasks dwindles, your stress levels will increase, giving your brain increasing doses of naturally-produced chemicals. Your body can become as addicted to them as heroine. The more you produce, the more you'll need, so this will bring you deeper and deeper into your job, certainly fortifying the lock on that promotion. Oh, and the drug is free. More savings!

5. When you overdose, your employer will give you a paid supervacation: As you neglect your health more and more, you may just get a long paid vacation as you burn out or even develop chronic medical issues. After all, are there three words in the English language that go better 2014-11-25-Exhausted.pngtogether than "leave with pay"? Who has the last laugh now as you lay on the couch for an eternity watching TV while the co-workers who were shutting you out of team tasks because you barely know what planet you are on are now left to do all the work you left behind?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates the cost of stress to U.S. companies to be $200-$300 billion each year.

The United States is the only modern industrialized country that doesn't require employers give minimum annual time off with pay. That makes the vacation days you get a true gift -- one that is precious and essential to your performance in life, both professional and personal.

You think you are essential. Your company can't live without you. If that's the case, the best way to ensure that you are there for them for the maximum number of years, as sharp as a tack, is to take every single minute of leave you have coming to you.

An Ernst & Young internal study found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8 percent.

"Tuck away your mobile devices and let your teams run without you. You'll be amazed at what you can do when you're unplugged." -- Jim Moffatt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Consulting LLP

2014-11-25-DaveBarry1.jpgSo take your vacation, or even a sabbatical Bob! Choose otherwise at your own risk.

Radical Sabbatical, an Amazon bestseller by Laura Berger and Glen Tibaldeo, lauded by Pulitzer Prize winning humorist and author, Dave Barry, as "the funniest book I've ever held in my hands."

Laura Berger is available as a speaker, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to info@berdeogroup.com or visit Berdeo Group

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