Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S ~ Summer Vacations #atozchallenge


All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.

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I find it rather ironic that on the day that I've planned to write about how Swedes, and Europeans in general, are much better at just plain taking time off for family and relaxing, I've done everything but that. 

For fact checking this time around, I wanted a more varied Scandinavian perspective.  I turned to to my blogging buddy, CA Heaven, for the Norwegian scoop.   He confirmed what I remembered: The standard vacation time for the Norwegian work force is 5 weeks per year. Many people can spend their vacation when they want to, more or less.  In addition to the vacation, we have the national holidays off, such as Christmas (3 days), New Years day, Easter (3 days), workers day, 1st of May, ascension of Christ, and constitution day (17 May). I think its pretty much the same in Sweden, but the Swedes have one day less in Easter, and their constitution day is in June, as you know, svenska flaggans dag.

What I remember from visiting Sweden so many summers of my childhood, is that life really slows down in the summer.  Many Swedes take their vacations in July, and a lot of them to their summer cottage.  (Quick quiz: if you were around in 2012 learning Swedish, name the word for cottage.) (Or search for it..no matter...there's a gold medal at stake people!)

I think we could take a lesson from Europe. Your life needs to take a time out.  Relax. Take enough time that you really decompress.  Your family needs you. 

What are vacation norms in your country? Do you use all your vacation, or do they make you take it or lose it?

~Tina, who needs a vacation, but when your job is your family and free-lance writing, um how? 



21 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina - we have fairly good holidays here - with varying differences depending on the trade or job ..

However the internet is playing a detrimental part - demanding that people are forever on line and available ...

The Scandinavian style sounds excellent!

It's important to get the balance right and one would hope that with family life .. both parents help out - many do, I know.

Cheers - A-Z hosts are workaholics and I bet a few would like to be chocaholics ... happy days everyone - Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

At the moment, I have enough vacation saved up I could take two months off. Maybe I will...
And was it stugu? Stuga? Crap, I don't even remember what I had for dinner last night...

Beloo Mehra said...

In Indian corporate sector, there is a lot of pressure now for people to be highly productive. This is having an impact on their lives, health, overall well-being etc. I hope the companies soon realize that this can't go on. The good thing however is that in India there are several holidays which bring some relief to otherwise hectic lifestyle of those working in such high-pressure jobs. Good post reminding us of finding a balance.

Thanks for visiting my blog earlier...

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JoJo said...

Sadly I feel that Americans are going the way of the Japanese back in the 80. We are guilt tripped when we take time off, and punished when we return with stacks of work so that all the good of relaxation has gone out the window.

Julekha Khatun said...

I love summer vacations :)...time to recharge and re-energise and spend some quality time with the loved ones !

Brian Miller said...

i hear you on the need to decompress...our life style these days is way too fast paced to sustain over the long run before things start breaking down...summer is 24 school days away....

amanda lee said...

Taking time off is hard. As mentioned in previous comments, technology has actually increased expectations that employees be available 24/7. My husband has a lot of responsibility at a very large tech company, and I cannot count the times I have gotten up in the middle of the night to find him on an international conference call in the middle of the night, putting out some fire. On the other hand, he is well compensated and while we never really use all our vacation time, it is not really tracked, and we can take lots of little spur of the moment vacations. In my own field, there was a time when we did not work on Sunday or Monday, and we could return all our messages in the afternoon or the next morning. Now, if we don't return calls immediately, clients will go elsewhere. Depending on where you are in your life/ career/family, you can choose the reward you want -- more family time may result in fewer financial gains, but it comes with other rewards. More work may result in being able to pay your kid's tuition to college, etc.

Jo said...

Not being in the workforce any more, I am on permanent vacation. People do amass a lot of vacation in many jobs according to their longevity in the position. I knew people with 6 weeks of vacation although they didn't always take it. I would have if I had had the option.

Easter we used to have the Friday and the Monday when I was working. These days it's just the Friday. I believe vacations are important and people need time to rest and recharge. Two weeks is never enough.

CA Heaven said...

It seams like 5 weeks + national holidays (varying by country) is pretty standard in Europe now. I found this statistics on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annual_leave

We work to live, not the opposite. In fact this makes a good incentive for improving productivity and developing new technology, because we have to be more effective when we work. The opposite is the case for countries with very cheap labor; there is no reason to invest in advanced modern technology if you can just hire more cheap manpower >:)

Cold As Heaven

DAVID WALSTON said...

We all need Vacations when we want them not when the boss approves them.

Andrew Leon said...

The problem with taking it easy is that you can't do it unless everyone is willing to do it. It sucks, but that's how it is. The whole country needs to take a chill pill.

Elsie Amata said...

My hubby was very used to his vacation days he accrued in the military. 30 days. Sweet! Now, civilian life is quite the shock. I tried to warn him but there's nothing like seeing it add up ever so slowly on his paystub. Poor man.

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

The general norm for vacation time in most countries: Not Enough :D

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

I leave for a week long vacation on Friday and can't wait!!

Joanne said...

my summer in Sweden involved lots of vacation. indeed the family lived in Stockholm but took out their boat a lot. Then they went to the grandmother's "cabin" for holiday. It was all quite grand and I'm still envious. In this era - My husband started a new job after 20 years at the old one, and left 6 weeks of vacation (not by choice) to go back to 2 weeks. Very sad....

Andrea said...

Sometimes a vacation seems more like just substituting one set of stressors for another...I can't imagine them all leaving for a bit!

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Now, I think vacation times depend on the job. My father had a week every year, but we spent every weekend camping in the nearby mountains of Colorado. We explored mining towns, ghost towns, towns still thriving after over 100 years (which would include Denver, a city that started out as three mining towns joined together). I will never understand how my mother managed to take four children camping every weekend and not go insane! I will always remember every minute of those vacations, from the sound of the wind in the trees to walking on rocks in the streams and watching the animals walk by our tent at night when lightning storms would light up the sky. Lovely.

Maria Kristina said...

it makes me feel bad my standard vacation is 14 days a year. It's a lot better though than my previous job when it was just 5 days/year. So I shouldn't really complain...

Michelle Stanley said...

Vacations are so important for mind and body, not to mention the pleasure from activities. It doesn't matter if one travels abroad or locally, as there are always new things to discover. Nice post. http://www.writer-way.blogpot.com

Kathe W. said...

cottage = stuga?
Now vacations! I've always taken them- squeezed them in never gave them up- like now people are "shamed" into not taking what they have earned- or they are afraid if they do take them they will come back and someone else will be doing their job...it happens these days. No loyalty shown to the employee nor to the employer. Glad I am retired.

Mandy Justin said...

It would be so mice to have upwards of 5 weeks vacation time!