Design Your Life

‘Vacation Shaming’ Shouldn’t Stop Millennials From Requesting Time Off Work

By Sharelle Burt


The majority of American citizens work five days a week, 9 to 5. After work, there may be other priorities that need to be catered to before going home, leaving barely enough time for yourself. Taking some time off may be the smart thing to do, but what happens when you have a supervisor that makes it difficult for you?


It might just sound like your boss is being a hater, but there’s a real term for it: ‘vacation shaming.’ That term refers to when colleagues or bosses try their hardest to discourage employees from taking time off. It happens all the time but more so for millennials. A study done by travel insurance firm Allianz Global Assistance found that 25 percent of millennials feel nervous when they request time off from their employers, as opposed to 14 percent of Generation X’ers and six percent of workers aged 55 and above. Millennials, ages 18 to 34, are most likely to feel guilty, afraid or shameful when requesting vacation days.


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Ariston Teleo said his employer tried to ‘vacation shame’ him. “I requested off back to back Fridays and then a week later took off a Monday-Wednesday,” Teleo told TN.  “The reaction was ‘you’re out two Fridays and then a little over half a week after being back just a week?'” Confused by their questioning, the 29-year-old fraud risk strategy analyst and author didn’t back down. “My initial reaction was thinking what’s the big deal? I get my work done”. He then reminded his manager of the vacation policy, hoping that he might see it differently. “That’s a total of 5 vacation days spread out over 3.5 weeks,” the Atlanta native said. “Any employee that takes a whole week off uses the same amount of vacation days… but all at once.”


Getting the work done and being the best at what you do is another issue millennials have, but Teleo gives some advice to other millennials on how to handle that. He says its important be a high-performer in a role because the older coworkers can’t hate on you if you’re doing the best and take a vacation. Even though you’re supposed to strive for greatness, you still have to utilize your ‘out of office’ switch occasionally. A survey by Project: Time Off introduced the term ‘work martyr’ to describe the idea of millennials being work or career-obsessed, putting time at the office ahead of time for themselves. State of American Vacation said that taking a vacation not only helps you recharge but can lead to that corner office promotion you know you deserve.


Teleo says one of the main things to remember, is that regardless of what your superiors say, you have to live your best life, just as the song says. At the end of the day, in the corporate world, you are replaceable. “Remember these companies don’t own you and you’re just a number at the end of the day,” Teleo told TN. “If they had to lay you off for non-performance reasons, the CEO and board of directors won’t cry over you if you’re gone, so use your vacation days.”

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