Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I sometimes get the impression that American businesses don't like the very concept of vacation.
Admit it, though. You're not very good at actually taking vacation time, are you?
It might be in your contract. It might be something you desperately need.
It just doesn't happen as much as it should.
Some estimates suggest that 658 million vacation days are left untaken, which seems a tragic indictment of a paranoid society.
What, though, is at the core of this recreational reticence?
I want to take a holiday after reading the conclusions of a study called The Work Martyr's Cautionary Tale: How the Millennial Experience Will Define America's Vacation Culture.
It's the word of an organization called Project: Time Off.
This claims to be "a national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior."
What noble people. What altruistic fervor must bubble in their veins.
They researched 5,641 individuals and discovered that there was such a thing as the Work Martyr.
This is a being who sacrifices far too much to their company and gives not enough to themselves.
Now I must reveal who these people are.
This research says that they are slightly more likely to be female.
But here's the conclusion that might make you want to move to the South Seas right now: The overwhelming majority are said to be millennials.
I can hear your throbbing voice murmur: "How bracing that we can blame them for something we haven't yet blamed them for."
48 percent of millennials say it's a good thing to be seen as a work martyr by the boss.
Isn't the operative word there seen? Haven't millennials learned about the corporate world at a very early age and learned to operate it to their advantage?
Perhaps that's just my impression.
These researchers then throw another curveball, one that dips right into your (going on) strike zone.
They point to a survey by Alamo Rent A Car that said millennials are the most likely to feel guilty about going on vacation and therefore to make others feel guilty for doing it too.
Project: Time Off is relentless in its depressing nuances.
It says the decline of Americans taking vacation coincided with millennials beginning to enter the workforce.
Why isn't Donald Trump already declaiming about this? Why isn't he railing that millennials are the reason we're losing to China?
Millennials came into the workforce doing the two-step with the digital world. This created circumstances in which everyone was much more contactable and could do far more work at any given moment.
Would you like one more depressing sentence from this research?
How about: "Millennials are the most likely generation to forfeit time off, even though they earn the least amount of vacation days."
What are we doing to ourselves? What are they doing to themselves? Might millennials just not have enough money for a vacation? Might they actually realize the utter mess they're being left by their constantly tipsy parents?
Naturally, I wonder just how much these results match with experience in the real world.
My impression is that many millennials are rather good at not letting the corporate world swallow them whole like little Jonahs passing into the mouth of the whale.
It's surely true, though, that American attitudes toward vacation have always been so suspect that in Europe they'd be incarcerated.
I realized, growing up in Europe, just how deleterious it was when a US executive explained to me that if he had to go on a six-hour flight -- for work, you understand -- his boss would give him work specifically to do on the plane.
You, though, might think this all-work-and-no-play is a beautiful thing.
For you, then, I have a surprise.
Project: Time Off was started by the US Travel Association.
Might its members be worried that the increasing digital dependency of business is meaning there will less business travel and therefore they'll need more people to take their vacations?
I prefer, though, to think these people have hearts.
Vacations are healthy for the mind and body. The corporate world, on the other hand, can numb both.
Isn't it better to choose life?