American Workers Afraid to Take Vacation

Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 06:20 PM

By Michelle Smith

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For Americans, it's a lot of work and little play, according to research that shows people aren't taking vacations like they used to.

Forty-one percent of American workers do not plan to use all their paid time off in 2014, even though it is part of their compensation, a survey by the U.S. Travel Association and GfK, a market research firm, found.

The top reasons workers feel compelled to be on the job is because they dread returning to a mountain of work and they have the “work matryr complex,” believing that no one else can do their job.

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Other prominent reasons appear to be the lingering of effects of the tough economic conditions Americans have faced in recent years. One in three survey participants said they cannot afford to take paid time off, and another 28 percent say they want to show complete dedication to the company and their job.

“Fundamentally what’s going on there is fear. People are afraid if they’re not present and they’re not continually churning stuff out, that bad things are going to happen,” Michael Leiter, a psychology professor at Acadia University who studies people's relationship with their work, told the Huffington Post.

The employment website Glassdoor conducted a similar survey, which found that Americans were largely avoiding vacations for the same reasons—the belief that only they can perform their job, fear of getting behind, and fear of losing their job.

“Fear is still motivating people to not be away from the workplace,” even though concerns about layoffs have mitigated since the recession, Rusty Rueff, a career and workplace expert at Glassdoor told CBS MoneyWatch.

When people do get the gull to take vacations, research shows many still work. And it's not just those who are low on the totem pole.

Nearly half of bosses in the U.S. Travel Association and GfK survey said they respond to emails during time off, and almost 30 percent said they take calls during vacation, notes the Huffington Post.

And according to Rueff, thanks to technology 61 percent of people who take time off are working during vacation.

“You are seeing the American worker say, 'I may be out of the office, but work is really, really important,'” he told CBS MoneyWatch.

Though Americans clearly have trouble disconnecting from their jobs, it seems many may expect their dedication to pay off with more than job retention. Another Glassdoor survey found about 44 percent of workers expect a raise in the next year, the most since Glassdoor started the survey in 2008.

“Companies still haven't hired back to the levels they were at before the Great Recession, so while workers are more confident, they're doing the job of multiple people,” Rueff noted. “There's still this fear that I'd better be good at it, so I'm recognized as a good performer.”

Editor’s Note: Retire 10 Years Earlier With These 4 Stocks

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