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The importance-vacation paradox Thu, Dec 27, 2007
I'll define the importance-vacation paradox as follows: 
The more important an employee is, the more vacation time that employee will earn, and the less time that employee will be able to use it.
I've known about this concept for a while.  My dad would tell me about all the vacation time he had to burn up by the end of the year, and I would think, "Burn up?  How can you possibly have trouble using vacation time?" 

As a working stiff, I see this more and more, especially around the end of the year.  But I haven't been in the game long enough to experience it.  Or, more accurately, I'm currently experiencing the other end of the paradox, i.e. "the less important an employee is, the less vacation time that employee will earn, and the more time that employee will be able to use it."  In other words, I don't get as much vacation time as my co-worker who's been here for 20 years, but I can think of about 10 million different ways to use it, the least of which even includes the word "vacation".  It's because I'm not important.  I haven't been working here long enough that everything would fall apart if I wasn't here every day.  On the other end of the spectrum, my co-worker who's been here 20 years is literally too important (or so he thinks) to take any time off, fearing the economy will collapse and the world will end. 

Even though I know about this paradox and understand it to an extent, I can't fathom it ever affecting me in any reasonable way.  I doubt I'll ever be so important as to be unable to stay home from work.  I doubt I'll ever run out of things to do when I'm not at work.  I don't know ... maybe I'm a little short-sighted at the moment.  But I have a hard time believing I'll ever be unable to use my vacation time. #business


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