Last week, I took vacation days on Friday and Monday; I was taking an out-of-town weekend to attend a good friend's bachelorette party and bridal shower. I'd taken off another Friday/Monday combo just three weeks before for a different out-of-town friend's wedding. Add an afternoon I took the dog to the vet, and another day I took when my family visited, and I realized I'd used half of my vacation days for the entire year without having, you know, an actual vacation.
I felt robbed, even heartbroken. I spouted off an angry blurb for the magazine about using all my damn vacation days on all these damn weddings. Realizing that in the entire year I wouldn't be able to take off more than another day here or there, I devised a plan that should be adopted by HR departments everywhere.
It's called Off: Wanna versus Off: Gotta. The Wanna category would be vacation days for true vacation-y activities you do to relax and have fun. Examples: Sailing on Cape Cod, a weekend at the beach, taking a honeymoon, driving along the Pacific Coastal Highway, etc. I suggest ten of these per year, with no roll-over, so us worker bees actually use 'em. Then the Gotta days would be for obligatory stuff: afternoons spent waiting for the cable guy, doctor's appointments, errands—all the crap that accumulates requiring serious time commitments. I suggest an additional ten days a year for these, along with a sympathetic wink from supervisors.