It sounds too ridiculous to be true, but "vacation shaming" is a real thing.
It's why many of us find it hard to ask for time off, according to a new survey that found one in four Americans have “negative emotions” — feeling nervous, guilty, afraid or ashamed — when requesting time off. In the survey, from travel insurance company Allianz Global Assistance, workers said they didn't want to disappoint their bosses or team members, felt pressure from management not to use up all their vacation or, simply, imposed the guilt on themselves.
And for all the stereotyping millennials endure about filling their Instagram feeds with beach and backpacking selfies, they are the ones feeling the most vacation-shamed: 25% say they feel nervous when asking for time off, compared with just 14% of Gen Xers and 6% of baby boomers. As a result, nearly half of them don't use up all the vacation days they are entitled to, compared with 36% of Gen X and 42% of boomers.
Here's another disappointing finding: Last year's Allianz vacation survey found that more than half of Americans haven't gone on vacation in a year, while almost four in 10 haven't gone on vacation in two years.
And that, people, is how you get on the fast track to burnout.
Science has shown that taking a vacation is good not only for you but also your employer, and it should come as a surprise to no one (not even a demanding CEO) that a well-rested, less-stressed worker is healthier and more productive. You're entitled to those days, so not taking them is like working extra hours for free.
But if you're still feeling nervous, try these tips for putting in PTO requests, angst-free.
Come Up With a Plan of Action. If your boss knows you've already delegated work and arranged coverage, he may be less inclined to give you that "I'm very concerned" look when you ask for time off. (Plus, it may prevent unwanted work texts while you're trying to sip Mai Tais on the beach.)
Give A Lot of Advance Notice. The earlier you make your request, the less of a reason a manager may have to turn it down. After all, if your vacay has been on her radar for a while, she should (in theory) have planned ahead for your absence.
Consider Deadlines. If you know three out of five of your teammates have already asked to be off two days before a major presentation, chances are good you'd be leaving someone in a tight spot. If possible, try to plan vacation around busy periods or times when you know co-workers will be away.