Between my friends, the question of “How’s your boyfriend?” has become synonymous with “How’s work?” After all, I spend more time on my computer than I do on my boyfriend. Sometimes, stumbling home at 2am, I “drunkenly” ramble the words “I need a vacation,” as if I had been out partying instead of in the office staring at the abyss of words and numbers. In a country full of workers that The Financial Times coins “workaholics,” the average Korean works the second longest hours in the OECD (2,124 hours a year in 2014) and is, according to Expedia’s 2015 Vacation Deprivation Study, “the world’s most vacation deprived.” According to the study, Koreans are offered a total of 15 days but only take six (a stark contrast to the 11 days off that’s the average in the States), and 57% of all Koreans feel that they are “vacation deprived.” However, as many Koreans will empathize—“having a day off” on paper doesn’t necessarily equate to “being able to go on vacation.” Although bigger companies like Samsung, Shinhan and Doosan go out of their way to encourage their employees to take a vacation, the rest of us who illustraion: lee dami work for smaller companies have many other determinants to consider. Will my boss get the impression that I don’t care about my job? Will my coworkers have to work more while I’m away? Will I get emails and phone calls that’ll eat up my entire day? Will I have work piled up after I return? For those that work based on
hourly rates, the question is more a matter of— can I afford to take time off right now? Some of us scour sites for cheap tickets and lose courage when it comes to putting in those credit card digits—losing the dream of travel. Some of us don’t dare to dream anymore. We’ve too long accepted the behavior of our clingy, timeconsuming boyfriends that it’s hard to know how to make changes. Our tips, if we can offer any? Sneak in an extra day as often as possible.
Turn off your phone when you actually do get a day off. Stare into the big blue sea and take a deep breath. After all, even the most loving relationship needs a break every once in a while.