For U.S. Workers, Vacation Is Vanishing

Posted on September 9, 2006 

For U.S. Workers, Vacation Is Vanishing

More than a quarter of working Americans won’t take time off, while Europeans enjoy two months of holiday. Did the Reagan revolution make us forget how to relax?

August 31 is typically the end of Europe’s holiday season, that Great Migration of the continent’s leathery bourgeoisie to southern shores. For Europeans, the August vacation isn’t a privilege but a secular-humanist right, a major premise for a civilized and dignified life. This assumption about the August holiday goes well beyond the EU’s borders, to poorer, struggling societies in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

Not so in America. For us, August conjures up no particular feelings of anticipation or relief. If August means anything to us, it’s heat. Not the European heat: the this-is-perfect-Speedo-weather type of heat; but rather the dreadfully familiar how-will-I-hide-my-sweat-stains-around-my-armpits-at-the-office heat.

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