#81 Feel Guilty Using Vacation Days?

guilty using vacation days

“What if they judge me for going on vacation? What if my replacement isn’t ready?” Put the brakes on feeling guilty using vacation days and start enjoying your well-deserved time off.

Guilt Stacking

So, you’re feeling guilty using vacation days. Instead of dreaming about much-needed time off, it feels more like you’re going to be judged by the world. Or that you might return to a nightmare.

There could be a whole host of reasons that try to ruin your much-deserved vacation: 

  • others may be forced to take on extra work
  • colleagues may judge you
  • work will go undone and pile up while you’re away
  • colleagues may resent your absence
  • someone may mess up your project as they try to step in your shoes
  • you tell yourself that your stand-in isn’t quite ready
  • customers will be missing your services
  • the timing is bad

And the list can go on. 

This process is nothing more than guilt stacking – piling one negative reason on top of another. All the reasons that nag at your conscience. Yet intellectually, you accept the fact that vacation time is rightfully yours to enjoy. 

Guilt vs. Innocence

Now that you’ve guilt-stacked yourself, let’s think about the other side of the coin. Here are some reasons why using vacation time is perfectly innocent, not guilty. You have every right to innocently enjoy time away from work because:

  • management’s job is to delegate someone to cover your work
  • work is not your life; it is to be incorporated into your life at your discretion
  • your vacation time has nothing to do with colleagues or their opinions; it’s none of their business
  • time away from work is all about your timeline and your wellbeing, which others don’t dictate
  • shit happens; the world won’t stop turning if a project gets messy in your absence
  • shit happens; projects get messed up even when you’re not on vacation
  • it’s an opportunity for others to step in and shine if they so choose
  • customers and colleagues will learn to appreciate your contributions upon your return
  • enjoying vacation time is not only your right as an employee;  it is a duty to yourself

The only justification you need for taking vacation time is because you want to. You can stop feeling guilty using vacation days. Because the truth is, taking vacation is much more innocent than you realize. There is nothing guilty about utilizing your employee rights. 

Don’t Take it Personally

Perhaps you might feel guilty using vacation days because you tend to take work personally. In this context, taking work personally means you associate your own self-worth with job achievement.

As noted in my blog post #79, Do You Take Things Personally at Work?, there is a critical distinction to be made between you and your work. A distinction between existence and our job performance. This blog helps you understand how you can un-link job performance with self-worth – and why you would even want to!

In a nutshell: your job results, your work performance, your feedback in the workplace mean nothing about you as a person. In other words, your humanness is always 100% worthy and good enough. However, skills, talents and performance are always a work in progress!

Here’s the thing – you can fish for reasons to feel guilty about using vacation days. However, the quantity and quality of reasons for enjoying your rightful vacation far outweigh irrational guilt.

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