The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

The trouble with work

By Nicholas Pappas

Unlike many writers, I do not believe I’m infallible.

I’ll admit it. The last couple of columns weren’t my best. I want to get that out of the way.

I’m the humblest guy I know.

I was burned out and needed a vacation, so I took one. For the last few days I’ve been in Chicago. I saw Jim Thome hit his 500th home run, I saw the Cubbies come from behind in the ninth inning and I drank — a lot. Not enough to kill a small elephant, but enough to wake up with one in my bed.

Maybe next time I’ll throw in an art museum or a play. The sky’s the limit.

I’m luckier than most. My company gives me more time off than I will ever need. A quarter of American workers get no paid time off at all. Government statistics also show workers who get time off are granted an average of nine vacation days a year.

Add flu season, car problems and self-induced morning-after headaches to the equation, and nine days get gobbled up quickly.

The United States is a nation of workaholics. I see my boss more than I see my mother.

Other industrialized nations average more than a month of time off — and it is often required. Not only that, but they seem to be in competition over who gets more time in a hammock. In Austria and Sweden, workers get paid MORE when they are on vacation than when they’re at work. Also in Sweden, if you get sick while on vacation, it does not count against your vacation hours. You can literally call in sick while on vacation.

One would think working harder would provide for a more robust economy. It’s not so. The United States now lags behind France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark in generational earnings. Researchers for the Economic Mobility Project found that today’s men earn about 12 percent less, after inflation, than their fathers’ generation did.

The problem is obvious. What’s good for corporations is bad for people — period. If a company starts handing out vacation hours to the worker bees, queen CEO gets one less golden honeycomb. They need their honey, and investors need a high profit margin.

There needs to be more government policies regulating vacation time — especially for those working more than 40 hours a week. The time could be filled by part-time workers, and also help stimulate the economy.

Think about it. No one takes vacation and sits at home. On my Chicago romp, I spent more than a poor college columnist ever should. People on vacation are always more likely to be loose with their loot.

Most importantly, like all machines, we need time to cool down. A worker back from vacation is energized and that energy makes them productive and profitable.

It’s too bad there is no way to make this happen. Dubya is probably at his Crawford Ranch. Dick Cheney is no doubt on a hunting trip looking to shoot his friends.

I guess our vacation dreams are only dreams. Now put down the paper and get back to work.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy at https://dailyutahchronicle.com/comment-faqs/.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *