UNITED STATES—Summer has arrived, and for many Americans the notion of taking a vacation has kicked into full gear. I always wondered why so many people waited until the summer months to take time off. I think I’ve figured out the answer. What is it? It’s quite, simple, the weather is warm and kids are out of school. Look, I’m not the biggest proponent of summer. I don’t like the extreme heat; I never have, but I’m doing something I haven’t done in such a long time: I’m taking a vacation.

You guys might not believe this, but I have NOT had a real vacation from my self-employed job in over 8 years. Yes, you heard me correctly 8 years. It got me to thinking, why are so many Americans hesitant to take time off from their job. For me, I never had someone who could step in and fill in my roll. However, it has gotten to point where either I’m going to burn out or quit. It’s not like I have a paid vacation, so why not take some time off to recoup and regenerate?

Many might be surprised at the fact that there are so many Americans who don’t take time off from work. I mean they go an entire year without take a personal holiday or seven day vacation. I always tell people a week long vacation is NOT long enough. You need at least 2 days to decompress when you start your vacation from the previous work week, and then you only have about 2-3 days to enjoy because the final 2 days you stress about the notion of heading back to work.

It’s not really the vacation you want, because when you take time off of work you are supposed to actually be off of work. I think I took three days off earlier this year, and they weren’t days off because I was still working. Yeah, for some reason there are many companies that expect their employees to actually work when they are on vacation. That is NOT how a vacation works people; you’re NOT supposed to be working! You are not supposed to be checking emails, answering calls or responding to text messages, you are to have time to enjoy yourself and not worry about work. If your employer is unable to operate for a week without you being there, that company has a major problem. A company should always have a backup, i.e. someone who can take over your duties in case you get sick, have an emergency arise or you choose that you just want some time off.

So many Americans fear that they will be scolded or lose clout with their company if they take time off. No, you are entitled to it if you work. I know if you work for corporate America, most people get at least 1 week of vacation time after working a year. If you’re self-employed, you don’t receive paid vacations so you should be able to take time off as you choose. However, if you’re a newbie and barely with a company, you shouldn’t expect to have loads of time off compared to those who have worked YEARS without a single vacation, how about you be a bit fair and let the person with seniority take their vacation before you ask, or demand time off.

In the work place a vacation is something you earn, once you’ve earned that vacation or vacation time you should use it. Do not feel afraid or tiptoe around the notion of taking time off work. Like I’ve said before and I will continue to say this: no one wants to work nonstop. Even if someone tells you that they are lying because in the end you’re likely to crash and burn and when you do it takes quite some time to recoup to get back to your normal self.