222 Million Vacation Day Giveaway!

We're giving away 222 million vacation days! 

It sounds like something Oprah would do, "You get a vacation day! You get a vacation day!" Imagine it: a poolside, umbrella in your drink kind of vacation. It has always been a goal of mine to make someone's dreams come true just like Oprah does.

But that's not what I'm talking about. At least not today. 

The collective we, Americans, give away 222 million vacation days annually. These are the vacation days we forfeit. They aren't saved for a rainy day. They're lost. Sayonara. Adios. Adieu. Goodbye. 

Remember back in the day when you interned for class credit and the pay barely covered your transit costs? Well, when you forfeit your vacation days, you're essentially doing the same thing: working as a volunteer for your employer by contributing to the annual collective handing back of $61.4 billion in compensation. 

Project: Time Off doesn't need to give away vacation days for you to get a break. It's time to put your hard-earned time off to good use. Need more convincing? Taking a break could mean... 

1. Celebrating More Birthdays. The Framingham Heart Study, a long-term cardiovascular study that has analyzed adults with a heart disease risk since 1948, looked at the impact of leisure time on heart health over a nine-year period. Researchers found more frequent vacations can lead to longer healthier lives. The study reported that men who skipped vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took a vacation at least one week a year. The study reported that skipping even one year’s vacation time can be associated with increased risk of heart disease. Move over, apples. Vacation days keep the doctor away. 

2. Boosting Your Own Bottom Line. Worried your vacation will set you back at work? Not happening. In fact, our research found that employees who take little vacation time could actually be hurting their chances at a raise or bonus. Employees who take 10 or less days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.

3. Living Your Life. You would be hard pressed to find someone reflecting on their life, thinking, "Gee, I wish I worked more." We're missing events that matter. From kid's events, vacations, and visiting family. We're so bad at walking away from work that ten percent of people admit to missing a funeral because of work. TEN PERCENT! 

Stop giving away your time. Vacation like you mean it.

Note: The data and statistics referenced in this post have been updated since we originally published this post. Learn more about the State of American Vacation 2017.

April 1, 2016