One of my responsibilities at Marie Claire is assisting our managing editor, Leslie, who controls the budgets and the nitty-gritty workings of the magazine. She makes sure we're on track for deadlines, hiring, and of course, approves everyone's favorite: vacation days.

Our vacation cards are electric blue, but the days themselves, precious and few as they are, might as well be gold. Everyone carefully adds their days to the sheet, and sends to their manager, and finally, to Leslie, to sign and approve the days off. Around this time of year, when the weather starts getting nicer, the florescent vacation cards come out, piling up on Leslie's desk. But instead of reveling in the vacation days, more often than not, everyone seems scared and a little guilty, as they hesitantly place it on her desk and wait nervously to find out if their wishes to be out of the office for a few days have been granted. I can't help but be super-jealous of the standard French 6-week vacation. To relax and not feel guilty for 6 whole weeks would be heaven. Why all the guilt in America? Don't we earn a few days off once in a while?

What's it like in your office—do you feel this way when you take a vacation? Where are you going this year?

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