Working Holiday

So we all know that ‘working holiday’ is basically code for a large amount of time spent in a foreign country with a visa gained on the pretence of doing actual work in that country. Well that’s not what this is about. This is about another kind of holiday and in particular, the one I will be taking tomorrow.

Even though my job allows me to go on holiday whenever I want, I’m very aware of the fact that other people may not be as lucky. I’ve recently discovered with a shock that most people in South Africa are only allowed to take about 15 working days i.e. 3 weeks holiday a year. That’s madness! How can one be expected to be alert and on the ball all the time when there is never any time to take a break and just relax?

I read a little debate about this a while ago (yes, while blog-surfing, although I can’t for the life of me remember which blog it was on) and was quite astonished to see how South African holiday times compared to those of other countries. For instance in most Western European countries you get between 25 and 30 days mandatory holiday per year (and that’s EXCLUDING public holidays, sick days and personal days). On the other hand the poor Canadians are only entitled to 10 days per year and while the Americans have no mandatory minimum, they tend to get around 15 days per year. Wait, what? So the genius who wrote our country’s labour laws thought it was a good idea to just do what the Americans did? Why not follow Canada’s lead and only allow 10 days off per year? Oh right, because we want people to work hard, but not too hard. We want them to be rested, but not 2-months-spent-in–the-sun-on-the-French–Riviera-rested.

The reason for my unreasonable holiday rant is the fact that tomorrow someone very dear to me is finally getting some time off and we’re going on a weeklong holiday. He completely deserves it, I don’t. I’m not even remotely stressed or worn out. I don’t need a holiday. I also don’t want to spend the whole holiday feeling guilty for taking one, so I’ve found the solution. To soothe my conscience I’ve packed my laptop and some work and I’ve told myself that at any point during this week, should any client (new or existing) require me to do any sort of work for them I would not hesitate to do it. I will be on call. I will also relax. And that will be my working holiday.

*This post was actually written just over a week ago, but I completely forgot to post it before leaving, so I thought I’d add it now. 🙂

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