Vacation – Can Engineers Take It?

My blog post is late this week – I’m going to blame it on vacation. According to this article analyzing a study by Expedia, Americans did not use $34 billion worth of vacation time they were entitled to in 2011. This started me thinking about how difficult it can be for structural engineers to take a real vacation.

In the past, I avoided vacation because it’s just too much work. Getting multiple design projects to a point where I could take time off was stressful. In addition to that, there are projects under construction that need shop drawing approvals and responses to contractor requests for information. So the weeks leading up to vacation involved a lot of overtime, and my return meant a lot of catching up to do. Honestly, it just didn’t seem worth it.

Emerald Bay. Lake Tahoe, CA

My solution to the vacation problem was to avoid vacation. And when I did take time off, I would always do short trips. Usually just adding one vacation day to a three-day weekend to go to Lake Tahoe or drive to Disneyland.

Last year I did a real vacation. We went to Cabo San Lucas for eight days with some close friends for Spring Break. We sat by the pool and talked while our kids swam for hours and hours everyday. It was the longest vacation we’d been on since our honeymoon 14 years ago. It was awesome, fun, and relaxing. Other than sending a photo of the Cabo sunrise to a few co-workers, I didn’t think about work all week.

Cabo sunrise

So. . .how well do you use your vacation time every year? Let me know in the comments.

– Paul