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Unlimited Vacation

January 12, 2012

Unlimited Vacation sounds good, and maybe it works, but I wonder how much vacation people really take at Red Frog. My guess is that it’s not far off from what most progressive companies give, something like 20 days a year.

It’s a good perk to have, and I’m sure it doesn’t get abused since the people that abuse it get let go. The people that don’t abuse it might even shortchange themselves. I know it sounds like a company would have people taking 40, 50, maybe 100 days a year off, but the reality is that if someone does that you find yourself in one of two situations:

  • their work isn’t getting done and you fire them
  • their work is getting done and you ignore it.

There are plenty of managers that might feel they should be getting more work from someone that can take 100 days a year off and still get their work done, but what type of attitude is that? You hire someone, expect them to get xx things done in a year for yyy dollars. If they get xx things done in 2/3 year while the person next to them takes a year, why complain? If others complain, tell them to just get their work done quicker (or learn how to work more efficiently).

I get over 20 days, plus holidays, and I struggle to take it. I’m essentially in the same boat as the Red Frog employees in that I manage my own schedule, and can take off whenever I want if my work is done. I rarely take sick days, since I can work at home when I’m sick. I have a grinding, daily job that requires regular effort, so I can’t plan on a month project, take off 2 days in the middle and catch up later. I essentially run a newspaper, every day.

However I could take unlimited vacation. I could potentially get my work done in 3 days every week, keeping enough items scheduled, to take two days a week off. I’m just not sure that it would be vacation since I’d be stressed during those 3 days.

If you are a professional, I think most places will work with you to get the vacation you need, whether it’s tracked, booked, managed, or not. The key, in my opinion, is to set a schedule that works for you, and a set amount of work that justifies your salary and makes both you and your employer happy.

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3 Comments
  1. I know when my sister went to work as a PM for a large company with “unlimited vacation” the catch turned out to be that they still had 50 hours of week X 52 weeks a year worth of work to get done; since there was no formal vacation the “resource planners” didn’t seem to allow that people would actually be gone now and then.

    Made me appreciate my PTO a little more (even though I still think PTO is a management scam compared to the classic vacation+sick {-:)

    • I wouldn’t put up with that. I’d certainly schedule and take some vacation, regardless of the schedule someone has put out.

  2. Wise Old Man permalink

    I guess the problem might really be that if you could do xx things for yy dollars in 2/3 of a year, then next year, you would be expected to do xxx things for yy dollars plus a 3% raise and you would get no vacation. Who in the world only has xx things to do in a year? For me it seems like no matter how fast or efficiently I work, there are always xxxx things to do, and I can only get to xx of them and the other xx just have to wait. Having xx things that have to wait, means that your needed for at least one more year. Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but I would stress out about the xx things I didn’t get done because I was taking vacation too.

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