The problem is, the little time we now allot ourselves for vacations can't do what vacations are supposed to do. "You need more time to fix burnout," explains Joe Robinson, author of Work To Live: The Guide to Getting a Life. You have to be cut off from a stressor for a sufficient amount of time to give your mind and body a break. And you have to allow two weeks for your body to rebound.The good news is that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority have a commercial making fun of the work obsession.
But trying to get more than one week at a time is difficult, especially in today's climate. People have to beg their employers for any time in the first place. The upshot is they wind up feeling guilty for taking time off. And vacations feel illegitimate.
Robinson points out that Americans are going through a cycle of overwork that began with the recession of the early '80s then shifted into high gear in the late '80s with a series of technological advances—fax machines, desktop computers, cell phones. We have lots of tools that bestow on us a false sense of urgency.
Add to that the fact that labor has been cut to the bone. Everyone left is doing multiple jobs and working extra hours. We're living in "a world of no boundaries" between work and life, says Robinson.
Sometimes the first stirrings of a social change are commercials making fun of that which is previously sacred.