Unlimited Vacation Time: Should More Companies Adopt This Policy?

R ichard Branson — founder of the Virgin Group — believes that people should be able to take time off from work whenever they want with no questions asked, according to this article written by Alyssa Newcomb of ABC News.

I actually agree — to a point, anyway.

In my opinion, it is not so much how much vacation time I receive; rather, it is structuring my life in a way where I enjoy work as much as I enjoy being on vacation.

Writing The Gate for greater than eight years has been fun for me. I am an artist who enjoys photography, graphic design and writing. I have a minor acting “career” on the side; and I have written songs and lyrics even though I cannot read music and can barely play an instrument.

Give me a job such as accounting, and you may as well shoot me now and not wait until you get home. I need creativity. I crave creativity.

There were times when I was matriculated in post-graduate school to earn my Master of Business Administration degree — go ahead, make fun of me — where I was miserable. Weighted average cost of capital? I never thought I would understand or remember that; but now I cannot forget it — just as I cannot forget endoplasmic reticulum which I learned in biology in high school…

…but I would not base my life on those…er…things.

On the other hand, you might thoroughly enjoy accounting. I salute you if you enjoy being a caregiver or a medical professional who is honestly devoted to helping people — almost to the point of altruism. I would not want to do that for a living.

Whenever anyone asks me about my passion, I usually answer travel. Travel is what I enjoy. I have always enjoyed it — despite its shortcomings. I will most likely always enjoy it; and I want to do more of it. However, there are people who actually (gasp!) dislike travel.

What we enjoy is all based on a number of factors, including the paradigms with which we were raised; as well as how our brains are “wired.” To paraphrase a quote from Dr. Stephen Brock, a retired professor from the school where I earned my post-graduate degree and taught me most of what I know about executive and managerial coaching, which I also enjoy: “You are born an elephant. You will die an elephant. It makes no sense to try to be an anteater. The goal is to be a happy elephant.”

I do enjoy helping people through The Gate. If even one person leaves a comment thanking me for posting information which helped him or her with travel or to win a contest, that significantly brightens my day.

I suppose that what I am attempting to say is that work should be like vacation. People should not have to feel trapped in jobs they do not like…

…and although I would never want to be a janitor, someone has to do it — and there are people who enjoy that as well. Everyone is gone for the night while janitors keep a work environment clean, which is one perk to that job. Another is no fighting rush hour traffic. How about having the day all to yourself when you are not sleeping?

Allow me to quote — or, at least, paraphrase — a gentleman named Randy Petersen, who said a couple of things to me at the BAcon conference in Las Vegas this past weekend which coincided with his birthday: “Every day is like a birthday to me, 365 days a year” and “I am the luckiest guy in the world with the best job in the world.”

Did I get that right, Randy?

At a different point during that conference, Gary Leff of View From The Wing also mentioned to me that he is the luckiest guy in the world as well. When people ask how he does all that he does, the answer is simple: he enjoys what he does. I have known him for years and worked with him as a moderator on FlyerTalk. I can see how much he enjoys what he does. There is no real secret.

For me — as you can probable already surmise — doing a variety of things is what keeps me happy…

…and if I can get paid for what I enjoy doing, that is even better. We all deserve to be paid for our efforts. We should all be able to wake up in the morning and say “Wow — I cannot believe I am actually getting paid for doing what I enjoy doing.”

In other words: work should be the vacation we all enjoy; whereas the vacation time should be periods of temporary rest and reflection — to “vacate” from our everyday lives in an effort to recharge and continue to do what we enjoy doing.

Am I wrong? What are your thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Unlimited Vacation Time: Should More Companies Adopt This Policy?”

  1. Carrie says:

    Totally agree. I would much rather work 80 + hours a week working on blog/graphic design/things than 40 hours a week doing the ol’ 9-5.

    On the other hand, if I enjoy the people around me, I can be happy with pretty much anything. I decided that a long time ago. I am just not the kind of person who is driven by career goals or personal achievement.

    I am driven by relationships. A good thing in some ways maybe but dangerous too because I could become totally complacent about my “vocation” or “life purpose” as long as I like my coworkers. I could do something I don’t care about and hardly notice because I’m just 100% fascinated in the social environment around me.

  2. Matteo says:

    I started with a Dutch company this year as a contract worker and hate the lack of freedom in having time off for holidays or working remote. I am an ID traveler and found I could just pick up and go anytime when I worked with the Norwegians. Now, not possible and I found it feels like I am stuck. Need my time to travel and getaway for 3-4 nights! That is what makes a healthy worker!

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