Work. Work. Work. From putting food on the table to supporting our families, work is a part of life we all experience (or perhaps merely endure). Whether you enjoy your work or not, it is easy to feel bogged down with the everyday tasks, mundane details, and responsibilities that your job might require. Whatever it is, we all need a break sometimes. Thank goodness for vacation days, right?! Vacation days are there so we can get that much-needed break. So we can take a breather from our jobs, relax, and come back refreshed and motivated to get our work done. Sounds great in theory, but have you ever felt guilty about taking those vacation days? You are not alone. 

I personally have been vacation shamed by colleagues, bosses and even some “friends” 

“It must be nice to be able to leave for so long.” 

“I swear, it seems like you’re always going on a vacation.” 

“You’re lucky that you can afford to take any time off.”

“I’d feel bad making anyone cover for me while I’m gone on vacation.” 

 “You’re taking another vacation?” “Didn’t you just go somewhere?

These are just a few comments I’ve got from various people, over the years. And it used to truly make me feel horrible, guilty and even scared to ask for days off or share my trip experiences with people. Even when I decided to travel out of the country, I was constantly checking my work email while on vacation. Now looking back that was just extremely unhealthy.

So how do you handle “vacation-shamers “

Well, let’s start by asking yourself these questions. Did you choose the wrong company? Or are you really driving yourself this hard? If your company or peers look at you crooked when you submit a time off request, it might be time to look for a new job. Try to find a company that’s a better cultural fit and focuses more on rewarding achievements and getting the job done, versus who spent the most hours in the office that week.

If the stress of being out of the office is too much, start by taking three or four day weekends so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed. You can also have a frank conversation with your boss or HR department because it’s likely you’re not the only one who feels this way. The problem isn’t going to get better on its own, but you earned your vacation days, and in the long run it’s better for everyone if you use them.

By Lula Defersha