OPINION COLUMNS

Vacation – WE all need it; Time to stop skipping time off

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, June 10, 2015
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As Father’s Day approaches, I’m thankful for the many qualities that I inherited from the patriarch of our family.

I got his red hair, blue eyes and for the most part, his personality and sense of humor. I find myself even singing songs about trash day, replacing his hit “Messy Monday” with “Trashy Thursday.” Unfortunately, I also inherited his inability to carry a tune.

Richard Greene

Richard Greene

One value that I gained from him was his dogged work ethic. It made him a top salesman for Moore Business Forms and later allowed him to start his own business forms company and acquire a print shop.

The long hours needed to foster relationships, make sales and grow a business, left little time for vacation. The closest thing to vacation was a weekend trip for a sales convention or an overnight stay at a hotel while on a business trip.

Aside from a trip he took to Vegas with my mom while I was at freshman orientation in college, I can never recall dad taking a full week off until he died.

As I grew up, I figured this was what you did – live to work and keep your nose to the grindstone. Even though I’ve never worked for myself, I’ve often thought myself too valuable to be away for more than a few days.

I cut trips short and scheduled around perceived big events at work. Usually before going on a trip, I just crammed a week’s worth of work into a few days or I would take a computer with me to finish up tasks.

It turns out my late father and I are not alone in putting vacations on the back burner. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans fail to use 429 million vacation days each year.

The reasons for Americans skipping paid time off in this study range from “feeling guilty about being off” or “worried about a mountain of work awaiting them upon returning.” All thoughts I’ve shared.

But the advice a retiring superintendent once gave me started to turn my thoughts on the subject. He told me when you start to think you’re irreplaceable or things won’t run without you, stick your finger in a bucket of water and pull it out and see what happens. His point was quickly understood.

In recent years, capitalizing on that advice and the realization that we work to live, not live to work, I’ve done better taking the paid time off when available. I’ve come to realize the rewards of a few days away from the job. It’s needed mentally and physically.

After time off, I’ve come back to work fresh and with renewed enthusiasm for a job that I truly love. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

And with it being a full year since the last vacation and after a busy spring, I find myself in desperate need of a rejuvenating week away to rid myself of stress and recharge the batteries. Luckily that comes this week.

Do yourself a favor, and those you work with, and schedule your time off. You need it, too, especially dads.

Richard Greene is the sports editor of the Messenger, who will be on a trip to the Ozarks next week, filling Twitter with selfies.

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