August 31, 2012 11:29 am

Red Flag #38: She doesn’t use all of her vacation days…

Red Flag Vacation DaysFor the majority of people working full-time, each new year brings with it the daunting outlook of yet another year filled with annoying spreadsheets, cramped cubicles, last minute reports, and enough office drama to bring us to the brink of insanity. We don’t need to read a horoscope or visit a fortune-teller, because we know exactly how the next 52 weeks will go down. Each day we’ll lament not being able to sleep in, we’ll eat a less-than-satisfying breakfast, and we’ll dread the commute into the office where we’ll spend the first hour catching up on email (sifting through our Facebook news feed), the next two hours on conference calls (thinking about lunch), and the rest of the day following up, circling back, and touching base (hating life). If it’s a good day, we may have time for some water cooler chatter or time to read the news – if, of course, your definition of news involves headlines as captivating as “Man gets run over by a tractor: 3 year old son driving drunk”. Literally hours into this year long, 2,080-hour episode of The Office that isn’t actually funny, most of us are ready for a vacation.

Except, of course, for the women with this red flag.

Knowing that you can escape at any time (and get paid for it) is one of the best feelings in the world – so good that it can even be overwhelming. Should you take a mid-February trip and hit the slopes with some friends in Aspen? Should you take a few long weekends throughout the year and spend some time with the family? Or is this the year you finally take that week-long trip to the Caribbean and drink only from glasses with umbrellas in them?

Dealing with these choices and deciding when to use vacation days or when to save them can be challenging, but more often than not you’ll find the following types of people:

The Counter. Has her own color-coded spreadsheet tracking the exact dates she took vacations and the exact number of vacation days remaining. In true OCD fashion, she plans for the future as she assigns vacation days to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other events months in advance.

The Hoarder. Saves vacation days like sorority girls save their rush t-shirts: like forever . Has a tendency to let them pile up until they’re unmanageable and she’s unable to use them due to work commitments at the end of the year. Frequently turns down invites for things to do because she doesn’t want to use up her days.

The Spender. Often a party girl, she’s over eager as she plows through half of her new stash of vacation days before we reach April. She either loves to ski and snowboard, she needed an ungodly long trip to Vegas, or she just hates work.

The Square – She may be part Hoarder, she may be part Counter, but for one reason another she’s not using her vacation days and we’ll assume it’s because she doesn’t have a fun bone in her body.

While each method is intended to utilize vacation days in a manner that’s beneficial to the person using them, it’s much different from the method most guys are used to using, which can be most properly summed up as the “Just Say Yes” method. We don’t really think much about it, somehow space them out so we don’t run out too quickly, and create enough efficiencies to leave the office early whenever possible to maximize time spent away from the office.

Since guys place such a high value and importance on this time, we have to question a woman who doesn’t care to make that same initiative. Does she have trouble relaxing? Does she feel the need to be in the office in order to “prove” herself? Does she just not have anywhere to go or any desire to see anything?

Rather than shackle up with a woman who leaves fun to chance, we’re naturally drawn to a woman who is more spontaneous than she is cautious, and the liberal, less restrained use of her vacation days demonstrates her ability to be that way. She’s much more likely to view work as a necessary, but not dominating part of her life, which is a perspective that’s much more in balance and much healthier than that of the women with this red flag.

You decide: how red is this flag?
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