It seems unfathomable -- especially during the summer months when out-of-office messages are the norm -- but American workers effectively "donate" an average of 8.1 vacation days a year back to their employers. A recent study calculates the annual total at more than 400 million unused vacation days annually.
When a reporter from the financial news service Bloomberg.com wanted to delve deeper into this phenomena, he turned to Lonnie Golden, professor of economics at Penn State Abington. Golden is often sought out by the media and by companies such as Samsung for his expertise.
Golden told Bloomberg.com that the legendary American work ethic doesn't necessarily pay off in a big way. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Since the recession, the fight for raises and promotions has gotten cutthroat and more workers fret over job security, says Penn State Abington economics professor Lonnie Golden. Extra time at the office may give you a tiny leg up. One study found that, for those who work more than 47 hours a week, five extra hours correlate with a 1 percent increase in yearly wages.
The more you invest in work, though, the less you develop interests and relationships outside the office, Golden says. That can have the perverse effect of spurring people to work even harder because more of life's material rewards come from work.