Which Do You Value More?

by Brandi Savitt – August 2nd, 2012

Time or Money…

If your boss offered you a $35,000 per year raise OR an extra four weeks vacation, which would you take?  In scenario number one, you would only get the standard two weeks vacation, and extra time off would be deducted from your pay.  In scenario number two, you would have a total of 6 weeks vacation (with no chance of a raise for 5 years), and if you wanted to take four weeks off in a row – no problem. Go for it!

Take the Money & Run

It’s a tough question, really.  I mean, who couldn’t use an extra $35 grand, right?  Even if you’d be expected to work more, wouldn’t it be the more responsible choice?  The die hard workaholic would also argue that it is actually difficult to use up that much vacation time anyway.  Depending on your position, or if you own your own business, the fear may also be that you will continually be getting calls and emails anyway.  Shutting off completely would be simply impossible – so why bother?  Be practical -  use the money to pay down your debt, save for your kids’ college, and build up your retirement fund.

Does Our Culture Respect Time Off?

On the other hand, could paid time off be even more valuable than extra cash in the grand scheme of things? A few of you are already shouting – hell yes!  We all need time to decompress and enjoy ourselves, don’t we?  However, for most of us, it is ingrained in our American upbringing to value money over time.  Even for those of us who philosophically (want to) agree that true time off is crucial for our health and well being, we still find it difficult not to judge the person who does not respond to an ‘urgent’ work email while they’re on vacation – especially when you know they’re just lounging in their backyard reading “50 Shades of Grey…”

Those Damn Europeans

Just yesterday, I had a conference call with some Scandinavian business associates of mine.  All of them were out of the office the entire month of July on holiday – no joke.  No one worked for weeks – despite the fact that they are hosting a week long international event that starts just ten days from now…

The entire time they were ALL unavailable, we Americans scrambled and stressed that the event was going to be a flop.  Even if we were at the beach ourselves, we would try and ‘pick up the slack’ for our European partners that refused to Skype with us until August 1st.  I’ll be honest – I vacillated the entire month between being completely annoyed and being envious of their ability to shut off completely.

The reality?  After all of our worry, the event planning proved to be right on track.  The Scandis’ hard work before they went on holiday paid off – plus they all looked well rested and ready to hit the ground running! Our fear and worry was for nothing.  Kind of sad, don’t you think?  The lesson: working constantly does not always mean you’re more efficient – and taking time off, does not mean you won’t be prepared.

Stuck in Time

The truth is, time is the most valuable commodity we have.  The problem is, that we as a culture fixate on the fleeting and stressful nature of not having enough of it.  Time is money, and we must must focus on making money and getting ahead while we still have the chance.  However, the other way of looking at the fleeting nature of time is – that if it’s so precious, why would we waste it working every second and worrying – instead of enjoying life itself?

So, What’s it to be?

Money or time off?  The answer to this question is really the answer to a much larger one…  What is most important to you in life? If you’re honest, your answer may just surprise you!

We want to know if YOU’D take the raise or the vacation time.  Tell us why!

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2 Responses to “Which Do You Value More?”

  1. Simone says:

    The answer would be, “it depends”. In theory, for me, I’d take the 6 weeks vacation. The US culture of 2 weeks vacation is absurd, especially since so many no longer work a 9-5 workday. How did that 8-6 creep up and everyone accept it w/out more pay, and/or more vacation?

    However, if the $35,000. additional makes a huge difference in your life, then you’d have to take the money instead of the extra 4 weeks.

  2. Ian says:

    Very thought provoking piece! Wish I had that option coming up either way….

Any Thoughts?