Various leading economic nations around the world, such as Germany, Australia, Japan, have laws requiring that employers grant employees four paid weeks of vacation, if not more, every year. In the United States, our government can jail you for barely harmful substances, tell you who you’re allowed or not allowed to marry, and charge you double-digit interest rates on student loans, but it has zero dates of mandated paid vacation.
Of course, here in America, we take pride in our tremendous work ethic. A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies, which is apparently a real thing, shows that working makes Americans far happier than it does Europeans, who put far more value in leisure time. However, we Americans must like work only in theory, as a Gallup workplace study shows almost 70% of us are not engaged at work and other studies found that almost 60% would go after a career change.
Of course, “working hard” doesn’t necessarily lead to results. America only came in fourth in the World Economic Forum’s 2010-2011 rankings of the most competitive economies. Coming in second was Sweden, a nation with a government-mandated five weeks of vacation.
In fact, only 57% of Americans use all of the paid vacation time offered by their employer as the idea that taking more than a week-long summer vacation shows a lack of dedication to the company permeates through our entire society. Even as study after study rolls out, displaying the diminishing returns of overworking and the benefit to taking a break to decompress, employers still demand near-constant dedication to the firm.