Does sacrificing vacation time lead to career success?

“Work ethic” is not the equivalent of “work martyrdom,” according to a new study

Does sacrificing vacation time lead to career success?
Recent research has contradicted the belief that the path to career success requires sacrificing vacation and embracing “work martyrdom.”

Some 38% of employees said they want to be seen as a work martyr by their boss, but they are less likely (79% to 84%) to report receiving a raise or bonus and are no more likely to have received a promotion in the last year than the average worker (28% to 28%), according to a US study by Project: Time Off.

"We need to put to rest the fallacy that 'work ethic' is equivalent to work martyrdom," said Project: Time Off director of communications Cait DeBaun. "Not only are employees not getting ahead by sacrificing time off, these habits may also be harming their careers."

Women, especially millennial women, also fall victim to this thinking – even though they reportedly value vacation time more, they do not vacation as often as their male peers due to guilt and fear, according to the study.

“Our workforce still has a long way to go to rewire its thinking that hours worked and busyness are equivalent to productivity. But make no mistake, the increase in vacation usage is a positive indicator for American work culture,” said Katie Denis, senior director of Project: Time Off.

One practice has helped spur workers to take days off – the initiative to plan vacations. Those who do so are more likely to use all their vacation leaves, and such employees tend to take longer vacations. As a result, they are typically happier than their non-planning peers in terms of relationships, health and wellbeing and work.

Data also showed that American workers are taking more time off work. They took an average of 16.8 days of vacation in 2016 – reversing the trend after losing almost a week of vacation time since 2000.

The figure marks a rise from 16.2 days in 2015. However, more than half (54%) of employees still ended 2016 with unused vacation leaves, lower than 2015’s (55%).

“The issues facing our workforce around vacation culture present clear opportunities and solutions. The positive change can continue if American workers—particularly senior leaders—prioritize conversation, planning, and modeling of good vacation behavior,” said Denis.


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