Why Americans need to take more vacation time

The author, an American living abroad, explains how Europeans and Middle Easterners take an entire month of vacation, and why Americans should do the same.

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“See you in a month!” one of our executives said as he stopped by HR to complete paperwork for his impending 30-day vacation.

My thought was: “What would it be like to take an entire month for vacation?”

I told him jokingly that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had a whole month off. He admonished me and told me vacation is for rest and relaxation.

A culture difference

He commented that Americans have the wrong concept of vacation. He said, “You guys take a week here, a few days there, a long weekend.” As he said this, I knew he was telling the truth. As a matter of fact, he was talking about me.

Never in my working life have I taken more than one week of vacation at a time. Back when my wife and I went to Europe every year, we would joke that we always promised ourselves we would stay for two weeks the next year. The reason was that as soon as we were beginning to relax, it would be time to go home.

I’ve noticed that here in Saudi Arabia, every vacation request is basically for one month. However, the Americans that work here take just one week.

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