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PTO days are our generation’s version of currency. Where past generations have valued things like gold, or goats, we value the rarest commodity of all: free time. When we were younger, this commodity wasn’t rare at all. It was given out to us at the drop of the hat. At a moment’s notice. We were given time off like Lil’ Wayne gives dollar bills to Atlanta-area strippers. Summer break. Spring break. Winter break. Weeks and weeks of time where we could do nothing until we didn’t even know what day of the week it was. And then things changed.
Now, as an adult, we rarely get time off. And even more rarely do we get time off where we can truly enjoy it without feeling burdened by guilt. Sure, we could all quit our jobs and have all the free time we want, but free time isn’t as fun when you have to spend it living in a cardboard box in an alley. Which is where the precious PTO comes in. Those are days that we are given, by our jobs, to do whatever we want, and (here’s the important part) still get paid for it. And they are glorious.
But with all good things, they come in a limited supply. Many of us are struggling to get by on too few days off with too many days on. People love complaining about how much they work, and how many days they’ve gone without taking a break. People bitch about how their job gives them a mere 10 accrued days, with no separate sick days. And they should. Not having enough PTO days sucks. But you know what else sucks? Having too many PTO days. And I don’t get a shred of sympathy for it.
By the time 2018 is over, I’ll have visited Vegas, Nashville, Florida, Iceland, Costa Rica, and flown home to California four different times. That’s a shitload of traveling. Two international trips. Six trips to sunny places. I live, undeniably, a pretty good life. Or that’s what I thought, until I looked at my available vacation days. Even after booking all of those trips, I still have seven PTO days available. Seven. What am I supposed to do with that?
I can’t afford any more vacations. While my benefits are incredible, my salary is extremely average. But what else am I to do? I can’t just use up a week and a half of free time and do nothing but sit on my ass all day. I can’t save my days for next year since they don’t roll over. I’m trapped. Trapped in a cage of freedom.
And the worst part is, no one commiserates with me. Whenever I bring up my plight, I don’t get empathy, I get anger. People walk away from me. Yell at me. A friend of mine who’s in medical school legitimately tried to fight me. That’s right. She threatened me with physical violence. That’s what happens when I try to turn to my friends with my problem.
In just three days it will September, and I will have but four months left in the year. Four months, to cram seven more vacation days into an already vacation-filled season. I’m already going home for a week for Thanksgiving, and I don’t think I can extend that any further without wanting to murder my family. Currently, my last day of work for 2018 is December 19th. How can I manage to fit even more days off into that packed schedule?
Do I just accept credit card debt and take a Caribbean cruise for my birthday? Do I spend a work week just hanging out at home while all my friends go into the office? How is that any different than a Work From Home day (of which I have unlimited amount)? Truly, I have nowhere to turn. My bosses don’t even have the kindness to guilt trip me for taking days off. They encourage it, those sick bastards. They know exactly what they’re doing to me.
The only thing that keeps me going in these troubled times is the knowledge that you, internet readers, are surely on my side. You understand the hardship I’m going through, and you’re here for me. I look forward to your kind words in the comments..