There’s a hot new trend in the American workforce: The majority of working millennial women are not taking their allotted vacation days because—among many reasons—they’re afraid that they’ll be seen as replaceable OR because they’re the only ones responsible enough to run their projects.
According to a survey conducted by Project: Time Off (an offshoot of the US Travel Association), only 44 percent of young working women with allotted paid time off claim using all their available days. Comparatively, 51 percent of young male workers report using all their days. Additionally, the percentage for men is on the uptick, but continues to drop for women.
The Washington Post reports:
In explaining why they weren’t using all their time, young women were also more likely to say they felt guilty, replaceable or wanted to “show complete dedication.” On every measure, whether it was the fear of returning to too much work or worrying that no one else can do their jobs, more young women were concerned about the effect of vacation than young men.
“Millennial women tend to have more pronounced guilt and feel they don’t want to burden people with their time away,” said Katie Denis, the lead researcher for Project: Time Off. “They’re more likely to identify with that ‘work martyr’ brand of thinking.” Indeed, although the data showed a similar gender divide in other age groups, Denis said, it was most pronounced among millennial women, 46 percent of whom said it was a good thing for their boss to see them as a work martyr, compared with 43 percent of millennial men and 38 percent of overall respondents.
Look, friends, I get it: You work hard everyday and you’re terrified that someone—let’s call him “Bobby*”—is gonna swoop in and take credit for all your hard work! It’s not an outlandish fear! Characters like “Bobby” are everywhere—lurking in the wings and stealing all your good tweets and blogs (or accounts... or patients... or... what do you do again?) about Katy Perry and then your boss is like “Good job, Bobby!” and you’re left with nothing! What are you gonna do with that looming above your head? Pack your bags and head to Tulum where you’ll be talked into regrettable group activities like water Zumba and end up getting getting appropriative braids on the beach? All so you can come back to clean up “Bobby’s” mess? HARD PASS.
Except no: You should never let the “Bobbys” of the world stop you from taking your allotted time off. Vacation days are an actual part of your salary and something your company has already accounted for (though maybe they don’t particularly want you to know that).
“Americans are really bad about taking their hard-earned vacation or paid time off,” Scott Dobroski, community expert for career website Glassdoor, tells the Post. “I say it that way because there is a monetary value here. It’s part of people’s total compensation package.”
It is not your job to be a martyr for your job, and, in the case your colleagues can’t get along without you, you should probably take your more-talented butt somewhere else or, at the very least, demand a raise for all the weight you’re carrying. Sexism in the workplace will likely be around for awhile, as will Americans’ work-till-it-kills-you mentality, so you might as well be well-rested (either from a trip out of town or a couple days spent in your apartment watching movies) when it’s time for you deal with it.
*“Bobby” is my nickname for Rich.