Too Much Unused PTO Tells the Rest of the Story…

timtolan Tim Tolan

I once read the book “Die Broke” which is a very interesting read on making sure you live life to the fullest, spending every dime you have saved to make sure in the END you leave nothing behind. Interesting concept. While I don’t totally embrace all of the concepts in the book, it does make me stop to pause about living life to the fullest, finding out what is really important to us as individuals and how critical it is to find a balance in your work and personal life. It matters. Or I certainly hope it does.

I’ve interviewed candidates (plenty of them) from all walks of life. You can always spot the ones who seem to be out of balance. It’s usually during the offer phase when we discuss the financial impact of leaving their current job and having the new employer (my client) push out their start date. I’m always a little worried (OK floored) when they say “No problem, with the delayed start date. I rarely take vacation days and the company owes me for 6 weeks of accrued PTO.” WOW! WHAT?! HUH?

You must be a ton of fun…

Another question that also raises my eyebrows early in the process (and causes some concern) is when you ask a candidate what they do for fun when they are not at work and they reply “I just like to work”. Oh no. Unimpressed. OR, ” I work 60-70 hours a week. Sorry. Still not impressed. All work – no play. Sad. Talk about having a shallow definition of life. C’mon. Go have some fun! I guess some choose to work more because they just don’t know how to relax, don’t want to relax and embrace this false sense of security they have by working more than their peers. Their belief system is they will scale the rungs on the corporate ladder faster than their counter-parts. Me though? Sorry. I don’t get that.

Taking time off to re-charge and re-energize yourself is critical to maintain a healthy perspective on work and life. I applaud companies that force employees to take time off and use their PTO. “Use it or lose it” PTO policies are a great way to push employees out the door and force them to take time off, take a vacation or to just chill out for a few days. I encourage managers/executives to get calendars each quarter from their employees to ensure they have a plan to take time off. While it helps to make sure you have enough staff on site during certain weeks or for company deadlines, it also tells the story as to who has good work-life-balance and, well…you get my point.

Find a hobby, travel to places that you’ve never been to, start taking long weekends, volunteer your time at a local charity, enroll in cooking classes. Just do something you enjoy besides working. In case you don’t get it, NOBODY CARES that all you do is work. In fact, it could raise a big red flag to some potential employers who might decide to “pass” on candidates who don’t have the right work-life balance.

Burn-out is a real dilemma for employees and for their company. So, start having fun – today.