Tag Archives: Sick Days

Vacation Or Die!

by Richard

The second-worst week of any working year is the week just before you leave on vacation. Of course, the worst week of any working year is the week right after you return from vacation.

Ah, dudes. But those actual vacation days. Those are some good days, indeed.

And, it turns out, they just might be saving your life. In a column, Dan Obeidallah asks if you wanted  to have that heart attack. And, if you didn’t, why didn’t you take the vacation days that could have helped stave it off?

Here’s the deal. Studies have shown that not taking vacations is linked to health problems. And if people skip vacations, there’s a chance that they may die younger than those who don’t.

I think employers should be required to post warning labels in the workplace similar to those on cigarettes packs. I’d love to see a big sign in the break room that reads: “WARNING: Working too many weeks without a vacation is going to kill you. Seriously, you are going to die from it.”

One study found that men at high risk for coronary heart disease, and who failed to take annual vacations, were 32% more susceptible to dying from a heart attack.

Another study compared women who vacationed at least twice a year to those who took one every six years or less. Astoundingly, the women who did not vacation annually were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack.

All of which is too bad for a lot of Americans. In this country, we’re practically obsessed with the idea of proving our toughness, our fitness through work, and one of the ways we do that, is to not take vacation or sick days. I mean, I’ve heard some dudes boast about not having taken a vacation day in years.

I just plain don’t understand dudes like that. Vacations are something you earn by working hard during the year. They allow you to take a little time, stop stressing over stuff that is, in the long run, pretty unimportant. If you work at it, you can even get some perspective, and that never hurts.

The average American uses only 12 of her 14 vacation days each year. In Europe, that average is closer to 20. It’s not even a question to ask which economic entity has a higher life expectancy. Europe of course.

If saving your life isn’t enough of a reason to take a few vacations, here is another: People who take annual vacations are more productive.

A 2010 study found that 35% of Americans feel better about their job and are more productive after a vacation. Vacations have been found to help us recharge — we sleep better during them and for a period of time afterwards. And our brain responses become quicker after vacations.

So what’s the point of all this? Simply to make sure you think about taking the vacation days you’ve earned. Especially considering it’s summer and your little dude is not in school, which makes this the perfect time to take a few days and see things from the viewpoint of a younger dude for once in a while.

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Freaky Friday: Yeah, That’s The Ticket

by Richard

This is what I love about SCIENCE. They’ll investigate anything. Pair a couple of scientists up with a pollster and, well, boy howdy, you’ve got a recipe for pure delight.

Take, for example, this. According to a poll by the CareerBuilder website, at least 3 in 10 workers are phoning in phony excuses so they can miss a day (or so) at work. I say at least 3 in 10 because, really, even on an anonymous survey, who wants to cop to lying to their boss. Because, you know, bosses have ways, dude. They have ways.

Sometimes they’re not even sneaky about it.

Many bosses checked up on an employee, with 70 percent of them asking for a doctor’s note. Half called the “sick” employee at home, and 18 percent had someone else make the phone call. And, in a scene reminiscent of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 15 percent of suspicious bosses said they drove by the employee’s house or apartment.

Shouldn’t those bosses be, oh, I don’t know, actually bossing stuff around instead of checking up on us poor worker dudes? I’m just saying, is all. Of course, it might have something to do with the following.

More than a quarter of the 2,400 employers surveyed said they’ve seen an increase in bogus sick days, attributing the uptick to job stress and burnout caused by a continued weak economy. Sounding sniffly on the phone doesn’t always work, though, and that mental day off could cause even more stress. Sixteen percent of bosses said they’ve fired a worker for missing a day on the job without a proven excuse.

All of which goes to show, if you’re going to call in sick, you better have some sort of valid excuse. Or at least an excuse that will pass as valid. If only there were some sort of resource you could access from your home that would let you search for places where you can “doctor” up an excuse. Hmmmm. Wish there were a googleplex of them. If you know what I mean.

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