American people...take a week off!
Yo, Americans. It's time to relax. You really need to put up the 'Gone Fishing' sign and get away from the office. Act like you come from some other country or something. In fact, US citizens take less vacation time then any other industrialized country in the world. According to a 2013 article in Forbes Magazine, we are the only advanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation time to their employees. And it's getting worse. The average American employee now works 160 more hours each year then they did in 1976. Not only that, but according to an article in the Huffington Post, "even when employees do take time off, more then half stay plugged in, responding to work emails and checking in at the office during their vacation." Wait, that's not a vacation. That's just working in a different place.
Surely for some, the long hours and lack of vacation is caused by financial need. For others, however, it is based on a work culture which values work over the other aspects of life, or on a fierce dedication to service that causes people to put in the hours and forego the vacation time.
We need to truly get away from work once in awhile, and just take the time to reacquaint ourselves with the rest of our life. Get out into nature, spend more quality time with our families, and learn about and visit new places. It will make us more well rounded individuals and more productive when we return to the job.
Once you make the commitment to take a whole week off from work...really, you can do this... the next step is easy. Just come up to Lake Tahoe. Spend a week here this fall hiking into Desolation Wilderness, mountain biking at Tahoe Cross-Country, or just lazing on the quiet beach (it's quiet because the kids are back in school and everybody else is working). Now here comes the tough part. Leave your electronic devices turned off. Every time you want to make a call...go sit out on the deck at Sunnyside and watch the alpenglow. The electronic desire will pass. And when the week is over, you will be one happy camper when you head back to work...Ok, perhaps not the first day, but later.