Friday, May 22, 2009

Paid to do nothing

I took today off to give myself a four-day Memorial Day weekend. It was a lovely day. I did my time at the gym, indulged in a latte and a scone, ran a few errands, walked the dog, got a head start on the weekend laundry, tuned into Oprah.

In essence, I spent a whole day doing nothing. It was great. Even better, I got paid for it.

So on this weekend to think about and appreciate those who have made sacrifices for our collective well-being, I am also thinking about whatever social force arose in times past to make the idea of employer-paid vacation a fairly standard benefit.

I don't know how that came to be. I know that it's not the case for all workers -- I am extraordinarily fortunate to work where I do. I'm sure it's not entirely born out of the goodness of employers' hearts -- if they want the best talent, they need to meet or exceed others' perks. But I suspect somebody, or lots of somebodies, in some time past, worked long and hard to instill the notion that paying people to be absent now and then would be in everyone's best interest.

Whoever they are, or were, I am grateful to them.

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