Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On vacations, or the troubling lack thereof.

I admit it, I grumble about school quite a bit more than is absolutely necessary but today it hit me: no more summer, spring, winter vacations. I've been a student or teacher most of my life.. so such holidays are a given to me. Its strange to know I'll soon be entering a world where my summers won't be mine to scrapbook, discover new recipes, dust daily, and read oodles of books to my hearts content. Two weeks vacation?? How do y'all do it!?! For real, how do you do it? I've heard the US is one of the least vacation friendly countries in the Western hemisphere. My English friends say they'd take 4-6 week vacations without anyone batting an eye. Two weeks doesnt seem like nearly enough time. After a lifetime of a healthy vacation schedule I can't help but wonder how I can possibly get used to such a schedule? Is the transition to having only two weeks of vacation hard to get used to? Do you ever get used to it?


ABCDlaw said...

That is an interesting question. The only thing I can think of, is once you're in the working world, you have a lot more money to spend, so you can take that trip to Hawaii, or Europe, or anywhere you feel like and enjoy your 2 weeks thoroughly. Right now, as broke students we have to make do with cheap road trips. I don't know if that's much consolation.

Optimistic Guard said...

Two weeks, plus the unlimited number of long weekends, I found US to have a lot of holidays, Thanks giving, Easter, Christmas, Veteran's day, Martin Luther day, Columbus day, labor day, independence day and some more are all federal holidays. I'm sure it will work out fine, they'll give you a lot of breaks. Plus as ABCDlaw said you'll have lot of money to spend on that 2 weeks vacation and can have a blast.

mezba said...

Haha we get 4 weeks.

Tee said...

Two weeks? Ha! My husband only had 1 week up until this year. This year he got 2 weeks but he already wasted half of it doing favors for my dumb in-laws. (Taking days to shuttle people back and forth to the airport, etc. without so much as a "thank you".)

So now he has 1 week left - and when he uses it, it probably won't be to go anywhere exotic. More likely it'll be for some health emergency with one of the kids or a broken car, or some other life circumstance. LOL.... That is "vacation" for most American families, I think.

working said...

I think it depends on your position. I've never had less than 4 weeks of vacation (I'm talking about non-academic jobs - mostly management positions).

Huda said...

You get used to it. For one thing, everyone else is working with the two-week vacation limit too, so you don't miss the extra time as much.

What took me forever to get over, though, was getting part of the day off. In college, if class is over at noon, you had the rest of the day to spend as you desired. You could push off work until 5 and take the afternoon to go shopping or have lunch with a friend or whatever. The 9-to-5 (or 8-to-8) chained to your desk thing took a lot more adjusting (for me).

Aisha said...

abcdlaw, well the money thing doesnt really apply in my situation :) But yeah, I guess if you are making a lot more $ working at that 2 week paid vac. job it would make it worth it.

OG, where did you come from before with less time? That is true, there are a lot of long weekends here and there too particulaly depending on what type of job you have.

Mezba, well, thanks for rubbing it in!!! :)

Tee... yeah, thats a good point too. Does he only get two weeks then period? Some ppl get two weeks vacation plus sick leave. Sounds like your husband has both merged into this.

Working.. yeah but in the US? Really? I've yet to hear of that unless you've been there for a good five six years and have built up to it.

Huda, yeah, the lack of flexibility in schedulig is also a bit scary to me.

chai said...

ugh. i hear you sista. honestly, the no vacations thing bothers me a lot. but sometimes, you just shouldn't care and live life. if you do your work and have the respect of your supervisors, clients, and co-workers, no one will question you. promise.

Squarecut said...

I know!! I agree with Tee... though I have not entered the real world yet, I know that's how my family was: all those personal pay day or whatever you call it goes away in taking the kid to the doctor or taking the car to its doctor....
no wonder Americans are SO depressed. We are SOOOOO overworked.

Jane said...

I agree that two weeks is not enough. My advice to you is to take mini-vacations when you can. Go away on an overnight trip or just take a day at home and don't do any housework, turn the phone off and just be lazy. You'll find a way to make it work for you.

koonj said...

I wasn't really much of a working stiff in Pakistan (plus I got the summer off because I was at a univ.), but I think 2 weeks is pretty good for the rest of the world. Most people think the notion of a vacation (more than like, a weekend) is very american. If taht's any comfort.

Ahmed said...

I agree with Huda....you some how get use to it...the holidays help...you get so busy that time just keeps going by....its really the everyday long hrs thats a pain and stop you from having a lot of free time. Then you have to catch up on stuff on weekends and then before you know its monday again :(

Shabina said...

Two weeks (10 days to be exact) sucks! I remember my first year in the rat race (i've not been in it yet 3 years), we went to India during my two weeks, and I was soo hit when I had to go to work the day after getting back.

I understand as you work more, it gets better, i.e. you get paid more, earn more vacation days, etc. But as a newbie, you get little time off, and you usually don't even get the choice days. Not *everyone* can bounce from work the last two weeks of December (though I always managed to).

My fiance has it much better. At AJE in Doha, first-years get **35** working days off!!

g'luck to you, Aisha! :)

Aisha said...

Chai- do you mean that ppl wont care if you take more time off than you are allotted? SWEET! :)

SC- amen!

Jane, minivacations are a great idea, I never thoght of that.

Koonj, I guess I always compare ourselves to the European system of holidays. (and apparently Canada) but yeah, there are places with far less. Thanks for the reminder.

Ahmed, oh yes, weekends are not long enough. They're only 48 hours!

Shabs, 35 days?!? WOW! Are you in Doha right now???

Baji said...

Hello. My current job has been the best so far--three weeks vacation and two weeks personal to start (balances the low pay).

The last 2 jobs I have taken extra time off for overseas vacation as unpaid time off. I now negotiate such terms in interviews b/c it's so important for me to be able to visit my inlaws.

rehtwo said...

Funny that you should be writing about this, as I've been struggling with trying to figure this out over the past few days myself. Two weeks totally stinks. I actually have a total of 13.5 days this year and it's a headache to think about scheduling all that I have to do. On top of that I had to take a lot of time off b/c of my father's death and other illnesses in the family, which eats into my "vacation" as well. Fun "vacation", huh. Point being, this is a hugely difficult transition to make...but it's only my first year out. It's interesting to me to see what Huda wrote, though. For me, it's the opposite. Even when I work 12-13 hour days, it's nice for me to just come home and not worry about work anymore. I sleep far more now in the "real world" than I did in school, and that's even with billing >200 hours per month (I know, not a lot for an associate but quite a bit for a lowly paralegal.)

Optimistic Guard said...

Aisha, luckily the places I have lived in have had a lot of holidays, Pakistan & the UAE. US was quite nice with holidays, i was in uni and we were having one break or another all the time.

Aisha said...

Baji, do you find that people still look at you kind of disapprovingly when you take the vacation? I remember you once talked about that.

Rehtwo, 200+ hours?!? I do like that idea though, having your evenings to yourself and not having to worry about anything else though the day may have been spent feeling overwhelmed. Are you still considering law school btw?

OG, I had no idea Pakistan was vacation friendly. Learned something new! :0)

Arfeen said...

yeah .. one thing that ticks me a little is the sick days. I get eight of them and they sometimes go to waste. Its hard to fake sickness when you look perfectly fine the day before and after the sick day.
But I usually try to plan my vacations around the weekends. So I can have a 3 day weekend if I take monday or a friday off. It usually works

Aisha said...

So your sick days dont roll over to the next year? :0(

You could always fake a headache. How will they know that?

sonia said...


money to spend and no time to spend it in!! it sucks and though you get inured to it a bit.( plenty of moaning and commiserating with others in the same boat :-)) i think it is a big issue. It was for me anyway - i had major 'withdrawal' symptoms..and you know what - being the child of a professor growing up i thought all working people had holidays in spring summer xmas etc. So it was a nasty shock alright that a bogstandard job had like.. practically negligible amount of holidays.

and if you've got family in other parts of the world it really sucks. i need to find a solution - apart from being an academic i can't think what.

any ideas anyone?

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine having a SIX WEEK vacation. I would go insane or broke. The longest vacation I have ever taken was three weeks and I blew through $6k while doing it. I can't sit around for SIX WEEKS doing nothing... I would have to keep occupied and to do that I would blow A LOT of cash.

If I were off for that long and did not have the funds to keep myself occupied - I would probably end up getting a part time job during that time.

On the Flip side when I was a biologist I had a supervisor who spent years not taking vacations. When he realized how much vacation time he had built up he started taking vacations six weeks at a time. After a few of those they told him that if they didn't need him for six weeks at a time - then they didn't need him at all. To tell you the truth I can't disagree with them. I can't think of a position I have ever held that I could leave for six weeks and not have a major impact on that business environment.

SIX WEEKS is a LONG time to not go to work. but take this with a grain of salt as I am a workaholic. The last Desi wedding I went to I spent three hours of it on the phone working. And I only took the one day off :/


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