One of the first things I remember studying in the US as an international student of sociology was the ‘Protestant Ethic.’ This was the work culture of the US, inherited from the Puritans — who associated hard work with redemption. Whether you’re Protestant or not, you emphasize work not time away from work read the subtext. Obviously there are variations to this tune depending on generation, geography, upbringing as well as the office culture among other factors. Nonetheless, I was not surprised to read that more than half of American American workers do not use all their paid vacation days (source: US Travel Association).
In a survey released in May by Discover and cited by the Wall Street Journal in June, 71% said they were planning a summer vacation this year, a notable increase from 58% last year. Now, what people say and do may vary. It will be interesting to look back and see how American workers used their time off in 2019. But if they do take their paid time off, this may signify boosts in
- travel, restaurant and entertainment spending
- office productivity
- feeling connected and content