Platts: Vacation all we never wanted | AspenTimes.com

Platts: Vacation all we never wanted

by BARBARA PLATTS

Millennials are entitled. We grew up in a world of “yes.” Our parents told us we could be whatever we wanted and so we assumed that was true. No need to put in any real effort. Because of this, we are lazy. Plus, we get distracted easily and we want, no we expect, special privileges.

We’ve all heard this spiel on millennials in one form or another. However, Project: Time Off, a national movement started by the U.S. Travel Association that’s goal is to promote the importance of paid time off to Americans, recently came out with a report that contradicts these stereotypes. Apparently, when it comes to work, the youngest generation in the workforce isn’t lazy; we are obsessed. In this 24-hour news cycle where something is always happening, we feel the need to put in endless hours and disregard our PTO. So much so that we have created an era of “work martyrdom.” What quantifies an “era?” Well, Project: Time Off estimates that 55 percent of Americans did not use all of their PTO in 2015, meaning 658 million vacation days went unused. That can’t be good for anyone, especially airline and sunblock companies.

So is this report even true? Is this how millennials, and their older coworkers, feel? And, if it is, does it apply to the younger generation that lives in Aspen? I took to the streets to ask professional Aspen millennials what they thought. Note: by “took to the streets,” I mean I sent friends and acquaintances the link to the article via text and asked them what they thought personally (#themillennialway).

As was probably expected, I got varying opinions. I share them below, however I have decided to keep everyone who I talked with anonymous because some requested to be so and others, well, I wouldn’t want to potentially get them in trouble with their jobs. It is a small town, after all.

One of my friends who works several restaurant jobs said, for him, this study couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I work all summer and travel afterwards,” he said. “I think everyone should travel when they can. When I’m holidaying, I don’t work. Experience is far more important than money to me. F*ck work!”

The seasonal tendencies of this town certainly make a difference for many young professionals, particularly those in the hospitality industry. Whether they want to or not most bartenders, waiters and hostesses are required to take some time off in the fall and the spring.

For the millennials who work “real jobs,” or jobs that don’t necessarily have designated off time, the story can be a bit different. A friend of mine who works a corporate retail job in town said she also had a different perspective from the article/report, but that is because she is lucky to have a boss that ensures she gets all of her vacation days. She also said that she works on being diligent about taking her allotted time off.

Still, I dug deeper. I knew my personal views on this report. I have always had trouble asking for time off. Even when I have vacation days, I still find myself committing to getting tasks done. I check my email often, feeling like there’s something wrong with everyone else working except me. I don’t know if this is because I’m a millennial and I feel like I have to disprove stereotypes, or if it’s simply part of my personality. Perhaps it’s a mixture of the two.

Another friend of mine, who works in public relations in the valley, said that she completely agreed with the article and the report, and she explained it more eloquently than I probably did.

“I would say that Aspen millennials most certainly are workaholics. Many people in the hospitality industry work two, three, even four jobs,” she explained. “That being said, Aspen millennials work hard to play hard.”

If we zoomed out and looked past Aspen, she thinks that there’s a stigma in corporate America that 40 hours per week is the bare minimum someone should be working.

“Particularly in this age of smartphones, we are expected to be connected all of the time, either to email, text or phone calls,” she said.

But she did continue to say that, regarding Aspen, we are lucky to live in a place where we can escape via outdoor activities. I agree with her completely.

For this story, I talked with several others about their views on this matter. Some agreed, some disagreed. Some were too busy at work to take the time to answer. Go figure …

As with most studies that surface about millennials, everyone has a different opinion as to the accuracy of the results. We may never all see eye to eye. However, I think we can all agree on one thing: vacations are very important and should be prioritized by all workaholics, no matter their age.

Happy vacation season.

Barbara Platts has not yet booked her fall vacation, but she is perusing her options. Thoughts? Suggestions? Reach her at bplatts.000@gmail.com.


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