This season is when a lot of workers look forward to taking time away from work. Even considering the holidays, though, do support pros ever get around to using all the vacation time they may have coming to them? Chime in with your experiences.
I'm looking forward to taking some much-needed time off for the Christmas holiday. I'll be going to Florida to enjoy some sun, some sand, and some time with my family.
It has been my habit for quite a while to try and take some vacation time around the year's end. Even taking a week off every year means I usually leave a lot of the days I had earned unused, though. I've long wondered if I'm alone in that regard.
There are a lot of variables that exist when considering this question. Different workplaces offer different benefits packages, and different employees accrue at different rates. From my university employer, I would accrue three weeks of vacation every year, 9.4 hours of vacation for each month I would work. Our benefits package also entitled us to five personal days that we could take off each year. So every year, I could conceivably take off almost a month from work. I was never able to accomplish this, and while some of my unused time might roll over into the next calendar year, not all of it would.
There are a lot of support pros who aren't lucky enough to enjoy the vacation benefits I had. There may be some techs who have even better packages. Support pros universally have a different relationship with their vacation time than other employees do. The nature of IT work means that there may be extenuating circumstances that affect whether we have full access to our time off. Tech support is a profession that does not always respect a 9 – 5 weekday schedule. Like doctors and plumbers, we may be called in to work when other people might be taking a holiday.
I also have the sense that lots of readers of the blog may work in short-staffed support teams or — like Joe Rosberg and me— have been one-person IT departments. When you have a lot on your plate, it can be hard to take time for yourself.
Have you been able to take all the time off that you may have due to you? If not, what stands in your way? Let me know in the comments below.