Thursday, August 5, 2010

15 Days

So many places to see, so little paid leave.

A certain day in December 2010 marks year three with my present employer. How do I know this? Because I've been counting down the days since the day I started to maxing out my paid-leave accrual - 15 days. Add on a paid personal day and a handful of paid holidays, and as it goes for working Americans, I actually have it pretty good. I take my time off seriously. Seriously! Though when I get instant messages from my European friends on one of their two (or even three!) three-week paid vacations, I must tell you. I feel pretty, well, not good about my pretty good American time off.

Why don't Americans have longer vacations?

Why, indeed.

How much annual paid leave do you get? How about unpaid leave? How much vacation time do you actually take off, at one time? Three days? One week? Two weeks? More? Is the amount of time you take at a go dependent on what you can afford or how long your company culture or official policy allows, no matter how much time you have banked?


11/09/2010 - Oh, to be born a Brit.


  1. Well...I work for myself so does that make my leave paid or unpaid...? I pretty much take off as much time as I can afford. Some years that is more time than others and is dependent on workload and royalty checks more than anything....

  2. Good question! I suppose it makes it both, perhaps. Kudos on your self-employed status, Armchair Parisian. That is my long-term goal.

    I envision a day, pipe dream that it may well be, when I can spend two months traveling, three months at home processing trip pics and writing, two months traveling, three months at home again, and so on. Rinse and repeat until the day I either can't travel due to poor physical or financial health, or have kicked the proverbial bucket.

  3. I'm in the military. We get 30 paid vacation days a year that we can use or carry over. It's how I was able to enjoy Italy for a month in June. On top of that, I get a lot of free travel with the ship I'm on. In less than a year, I've been to 14 new countries and usually get 2-3 days off to explore the places we visit as ports.
    When I worked in the civilian sector it was much harder to take time off. I was in sales and if I even dreamed of using my two weeks of vacation per year, my bosses would tell me how behind the curve I'd be.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Fidel.

    I had no idea that the U.S. military offered such a European vacation plan. Now that I know, maybe I should consider joining! I'm really glad to learn of this though, as I think having the time off and the ability to take it - no matter where one works - is so important to both physical and mental health. So that's really great. Now, if only the U.S. government could somehow mandate such a paid-leave plan for all Americans. Shoot. I'd even be thankful for more unpaid leave. At my last job I negotiated unlimited unpaid leave on top of the company's standard two weeks of paid leave. That was the only way that I was able to do so much extended-time travel in years past. I really miss those vacations. But I work for a start-up now and wasn't successful in negotiating something similar when I accepted my current position. Such is life. Nothing is written in stone though, so I'm still hopeful that the future will hold more time away from home for me one of these years, soon.

  5. Well I know exactly where that photograph was taken! I am an 'empty nester' lucky enough to be living in Italy on a permanent vacation, which comes with age :)

  6. LindyLouMac, you are a lucky woman. A molto lucky woman! I hope to be in Italy some day too, on a permanent vacation ...

  7. I hope your dreams come true and that you come to Italy :)

  8. Mille grazie, LindyLouMac! I'm working on it ... and in the meantime, I'll have to just make the most of my shorter, impermanent, intermittent visits. Better than no Italy at all. That's for sure!

  9. Hi there:)

    I chanced upon ur blog :)
    Was a travel writer myself.

    I took a few photos off your blog (hope you dont mind, they r too pretty to resist), crediting them of course. Just thought i'd let you know.
    You can view them from my wordpress, on the post on 'Paris'.


  10. Hi Lynne,

    While I am flattered that you find my pictures pretty, my copyright notice explicitly specifies that my images are not to be used elsewhere. Perhaps you didn't read that tidbit, so allow me to repost it here (see italicized text, below). Kindly remove my photographs from your blog, or you'll be hearing from my attorney. Thank you for respecting copyright law.

    Incidentally, if you like my Paris pics and would like to use a few legally on your blog, I invite you to visit my portfolio on iStockphoto - - where you can purchase an affordable license for your intended use.

    Notes from a broad was created and is maintained with loving care by Marisa Allegra Williams herself. Bah oui, c'est moi! The written content is licensed under a noncommercial, no derivative works, Creative Commons attribution license: The fine print. Photos not included, and therefore cannot be used elsewhere.

    Just to be clear, all content herein is copyright Marisa Allegra Williams. Words and images all, unless noted otherwise. That said, the Creative Commons license as detailed above covers words only. Not photos. The images on this site may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, reworked, or otherwise tinkered with. Period. Mahalo for respecting the rules and thanks for surfing by. Cheers and buon viaggio!

  11. That photo is amazing! The US does have the most backwards perspectives about vacation don't we?




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