Take Your PTO
Hello, everybody. I’m headed home from a week in Ireland. I hate it when bloggers like me go on vacation and then use their time away from the computer as an opportunity to lecture you to take your PTO.
“You need space and time to think,” they write. “Turn your brain off. Get away from the computer. Get back to what’s important in life: creativity.”
I don’t know what world these people live in, but most of us don’t have the freedom and luxury to take a break from reality and swap our daily negativity for a more positive inner dialogue.
But chumps like me are right. You gotta take your PTO.
It pains me to admit it, but all that touchy-feely crap about taking your PTO is right. Time away from the grind is good for your mental and physical health. You are killing yourself for your job, and it’s not worth it. Most of you work in bullshit jobs, anyway. Take your PTO.
It’s also true that too much work makes you weird. All that initial energy and passion for your career becomes obsessive and unnatural. It leaves you with a myopic interpretation of purpose and goals. And it makes you annoying as hell. What’s worse than someone who only talks about work? Not much. Take your PTO, get better at your job, and have more interesting life stories.
Finally, PTO is part of your total compensation package. (Well, if you’re lucky and don’t work in some crappy portfolio/temp/creative job.) When you skip vacation days, you’re leaving money on the table. Companies love unlimited PTO because it turns out that works take less time off when there aren’t clear parameters around the program. Take all your PTO. If you have unlimited PTO, test those boundaries. Don’t let your company profit from your weird, peasant-like commitment to work.
And a quick word for people who don’t have PTO — join a union and fight for your rights as workers. Or get a lawyer. Years ago, Microsoft had to go back and recognize contractors as employees because the lines were blurry. I think the market is ready for another lawsuit. Words like “employee” and “contractor” are 20th-century terms in a 21st-century economic environment.
What’s full-time? What’s part-time? What’s contingent? Freelancers, artists, and entrepreneurs should test this and redefine the corporate and social contracts in America and beyond.
But all of that is for another day. Just do me a favor and take your PTO. It’s good for your brain, your body, and your soul. And you freakin’ earned it.