Ontarians work 3 1/2 less weeks annually than their U.S. counterparts, according to a study released Friday. That’s one of the findings of a study by the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity and funded by the Ontario government. Workers in Ontario worked an average of 1,739 hours a year between 1997 and 2004, compared to an average of 1,867 hours by American workers. The study says that “intensity gap” — defined as the hours worked by employed residents in creating prosperity for themselves and their families — is costing not only residents of Ontario, but the federal, provincial, and local governments as well.
This story really got me to thinking…and it made me realize just how little of my vacation time I actually use. When I got paid this week, I looked at how much vacation time I’ve accrued, and I’m up to a little over 6 1/2 weeks. That reflects all of the time I’ve worked instead of taking time off to relax and enjoy myself…and then I wonder why I’m feeling so stressed lately. I’ve been doing the “hamster on an exercise wheel” thing for so long now, I’m not even certain I remember HOW to take a vacation. Well, I’m sure it would come back to me quickly, but I don’t take advantage of one of the rewards that I accrue from working as hard as I do, and I’m not really quite sure why.
It’s not that I don’t know how to relax…actually, it’s something I’m pretty good at (they call me “laissez-faire”), but I just don’t do it often enough. I think the Canadians that this story refers to have it just about right. Clearly, these folks are working to live, not living to work…and sometimes I wonder if I this isn’t a lesson I could stand to learn.
At the end of October, She Who Endures My Myriad Eccentricities and I are going to New York for a week, so at least I have that to look forward to. But with over 6 weeks of vacation time built up, you’d think I’d be doing something like that a fair bit more often. After all, isn’t this why I work?