I read a story the other day about a trend that is gaining traction among some of the more avant-garde companies. Namely, a requirement that all employees must use all of their vacation days each year. This is not done mainly for accounting or bookkeeping purposes. Rather, it is done to help promote employee satisfaction and to refresh and maintain positive attitudes, which studies have shown leads to long-term retention of individuals. Further, this helps to minimize costs associated with training and orientation programs for new employees, as well as ensuring continuity of skilled and experienced personnel.
While I understand the reasoning and logic behind this approach, forced vacations have always had a negative affect on me. A taxing source of frustration that does anything but help to refresh me or maintain in me a positive attitude. Each year the place where I work has a week-long winter shutdown. Employees are not allowed to report to work and must take vacation days. Even if I wanted to work in my office, I would not be allowed to enter the building, as typically this week is reserved for heating/AC maintenance and the buildings are without power. However, my job is not just a vocation, it is also my avocation, my passion. It is an outlet for my creativity and energy. It helps to maintain my sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Oh how I hate being forced to take time off. There is nothing relaxing to me about the prospect. Of course, I likely lost my sanity years ago.