The guilty pleasure of vacation

As I leave on a one-week vacation, I can’t help thinking about how much rarer such breaks are becoming for Americans.  Plenty of people are getting time off, but from job loss, not paid vacation.  These are obviously very different experiences.

At the same time that we’re seeing fewer employees offered paid vacation, it also seems many Americans who get it are uncomfortable taking it.  With a smaller staff doing more work, and job security shaky, it’s a real disincentive to take that week or two.  I’ve even seen proposals that employers be required to force their employees to take their full annual vacation time.

Though such a law has zero political prospects, I’m surprised that more companies don’t stress the importance of vacations more than they do.  In the short run, it’s harder for companies to cover for workers who are out and costs money.  However, in the long run, I have no doubt that taking vacations significantly increases employee productivity and makes it more likely that workers will stick around.


Hitting the road

Kristen, Desmond, and I are taking a week to drive up to Oregon on our family vacation.  You’ll be in the talented hands of David Lazarus while I’m gone.

I haven’t been to Oregon since I was a teenager, but I have great memories of backpacking the Columbia River Gorge.  Given that Desmond enjoys hiking so much, I’m looking forward to showing him a place that I found so beautiful.

While we’re in Portland, we’ll be looking for the historic building that housed my great-grandfather’s bar.  He died many years before I was born, but I have a terrific early-20th century photo of my great-grandfather and his patrons lined up at the bar.  It reminds me of the photo from the opening of Cheers.  We’ll be scouring downtown Portland to see if we can find the building.

From Portland, we’ll come down the coast of Oregon and northern California.  I know the scenery will be gorgeous.