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The Young Professional, Time Off and the Blackberry

Taking time off can often feel like a serious professional risk.

Americans are really bad at taking vacation days. A poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that only 57 percent of Americans take all of their allotted vacation time, which ranks the U.S. toward the bottom of the poll.

The study doesn’t show how many vacation days people take, so it’s possible people are taking most of what they get. But it’s generally accepted that Americans, who receive around 14 days annually, leave three or four days on the table.

But the Blackberry, it SAVED us. It is the epitome of good and bad all wrapped into one.  This lovely mobile device gives you the freedom to go wherever you want. Unfortunately, it has also given rise to the “tethered” vacation.

At least 50 percent of Americans have admitted to checking their e-mail during vacation days.

Are holidays any better? Do they give Americans the respite they need, or are they just a reminder of how overworked most Americans are?

A new survey from Xobni and Harris Interactive says 59% of employed American adults check their e-mail during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of that percentage, more than half (55%) check their work e-mails at least once a day, while about 28% check their e-mails multiple times throughout the day.

So do you ever actually get the break that you need? Is vacation aversion less about overwork than about self-delusion and narcissism?

How can Americans get their vacation back?

Exercise’s Career Benefits

I write a lot about exercise and staying healthy, while also focusing on career learnings. So I thought it would be interesting to see if there was a correlation between exercise and career growth.

Exercise provides the benefits of mental and physical health, and morning exercise gives workers an edge.

In the recently published book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, coauthors Tom Rath and Jim Harter examined the qualities and habits that contribute to high levels of wellbeing in the social, career, financial, physical, and community elements of life.

When it came to daily habits – morning exercise is hard to beat.  Studies show that a 20 minute workout can boost your mood for hours afterward. Morning exercise also helps make you more productive and give you more energy throughout the day.

I find it easier to motivate myself to the gym in the morning if I do have plans after work or if I know it’s going to be a busy day. And in all honesty I feel more productive and happier on those days. I should probably do it more often.

How do you motivate yourself to the gym in the morning?


Last night on Glee, Sue Sylvester rose to the ultimate power—principal. When her initial plan to seize power failed (firing Beiste) she looked outside her office and saw massively obese children and decided to ban tater-tots from the school and advocate healthy eating.

When I showed this to Brittany she began to whimper, thinking I'd cut down a small tree where a family of gummi bears lived." - Sue, holding up some broccoli

I truly believe that Ms. Sylvester is one of the BEST characters on Glee, but I love her even more now that she took on school lunches.

It is nothing new lunches at many schools across the country are not nutritious. While more than 70% of schools serve lunches that meet the guidelines for nutrients like vitamins, minerals and proteins, many serve meals that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

Even healthy choices like whole wheat pizza, salad and bean burritos are accompanied by items like chicken nuggets and fries that kids can buy on their own. A study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006 found that 23.5 percent of high schools offered fast food from places like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

If only real life principals could use their power this way….