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The Value of a Day Off

in Vacations

A life experience question is: what is the value of a day off ?

In my new job I am allowed to set my schedule such that I can take a day liberty (after I have worked enough extra hours to cover an entire day), and with that day of liberty, I can get the things done that I need to get done. At first when I got hired I didn’t understand why everyone seemed to think that this was such a wonderful thing, but I am starting to understand now the value of this day to get things done. Previously, if I worked extra hours, I wanted to get paid for them (in overtime), and rarely took time in lieu (as compensation).

As I mature I am starting to change my answer to this question. In my family, my father never took a days vacation (from what I can recall). I am not exactly sure why he never did, I can guess, but he never really told me why, and it wasn’t any of my business either. I know that my father was compensated for the days that he didn’t take off, so that might have been the reason, but again it is none of my business.

I suppose we always learn from our parents behaviors, and in my previous career, I rarely took days vacation, and my wife and I haven’t been on a vacation together (without kids) for 18 years or so. ¬†When I finally left my old job I was earning vacation at 5 weeks a year, and thanks to that, my severance package was actually 2 months longer, because of my vacation accrual. In my new job I only get 3 weeks a year, and I am now missing my extra days vacation, and it is not so I can get paid for them, I want to take those days off.

My wife asked a better question, is my liberty day, really a day off? I have worked the extra hours so that I can have the day off, so this is not vacation, in a strict definition. I still appreciate this day to get stuff done, but I do have to work to earn it.

Good reader, what is your opinion? Is it important to have lots of vacation so that you can take time off, or is it better to get paid out for the vacation (if that is possible)?


  • 20 and Engaged May 2, 2011, 6:48 PM

    I think getting a liberty day instead of a paid vacation is still nice as long as you get a decent length vacation. 3 weeks (at least in my opinion) is more than enough time.

  • Online vacatures January 22, 2011, 5:36 AM

    I truly believe that a day off gives you very much value. You can spend that day with your family to have some very good quality time!

  • fillmypb January 17, 2011, 2:52 PM

    i love having days off, especially when you still get paid for it. i’m hating today because our office is open today while others are closed for martin luther king day.

    • bigcajunman January 17, 2011, 6:06 PM

      how can you be open for MLK day? Thought that was a national holiday? Being Canadian we don’t celebrate it here.

  • Echo January 17, 2011, 1:17 PM

    Since I switched jobs to the public sector I am definitely enjoying my time off more and more. In my previous career I had 3 weeks off each year, but we were very busy on the weekends and during holidays (hospitality industry).

    I started this new job with 22 vacation days, plus we are closed for a week between Christmas and New Year’s. I work 8:30am – 4:30pm, go home for lunch (I live 5 minutes away) and am rarely bothered after hours with any work related issues.

    Where I struggle is that my salary is set, and I have no incentive to really outperform my yearly objectives. I can definitely see the complacency that sets in with long term public sector employees who feel their contributions don’t matter.

    • bigcajunman January 17, 2011, 6:05 PM

      Lack of motivation seems to be a public sector issue, depending on your area, but the vacation is a nice perk as well.

  • Financial Samurai January 17, 2011, 10:25 AM

    You should think about going to Vegas and blowing it all baby! j/k.

    Enjoy your well deserved day off!

    I’ve decided to take all 6 weeks off every year for the life of my work. No exceptions!

    • bigcajunman January 17, 2011, 12:10 PM

      That is kind of where I am leaning as well, but I don’t get 6 weeks now… workin’ on it.

  • Sustainable PF January 17, 2011, 8:55 AM

    We have a similar system where we work 33 minutes extra on a daily basis and we get every 3rd Friday off. Personally, I LOVE IT! This ends up being 17 additional days off work over the span of a year! In the summer it means LONG WEEKENDS which are nice to head to the cottage. Additionally, when we do book vacation we often use less vacation days when one of these compressed work week days fall in the middle of our planned time off.
    Add to that an opportunity to get things like banking done, or greeting/dealing with people who are going to do work on the house or make deliveries etc – it’s great!


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