Vacation, sometimes called "holidays", has been part of labor laws and work contracts for more than a century. With the 19th century industrialization, Germany (my home country) has become a forerunner in social achievements and includes generous paid vacation in its statutory framework. People in other nations have initiated their own specific cultural and legal agreements. (Are you ready to be an initiator?)
Since 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reflects the understanding that
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. (Article 24)
The UDHR sets a framework of rights and duties without specifying details, like how many days paid vacation employees are entitled to. That is up to each nation's legal framework and labor contracts and negotiations.
Vacation as a learning experience
This summer vacation I went to the USA with the family. Over there, one of the places I enjoyed was a public tour of UN headquarters in New York City. I feel I understood more of what this organization set out to do and feel sorry it is sometimes regarded as slow and bureaucratic. But then, so are other large organizations trying to accommodate many stakeholder's interests.
One of the permanent exhibits in the main building touched me. On display are articles from Hiroshima, 1945. It reminds visitors of the need to end the military-industrial threat of war, especially nuclear war. If you go there, take a look and notice what you feel.
Off the tour, I recommend a visit to the UN bookstore. Earth: The Sequel The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn caught my eye viscerally, so I bough it on the spot. In the first few chapters they describe technology and economic basics related to solar energy photovoltaic and heating. Still reading...
Breakthrough may come through a break
Words inspired by author Matthew E. May's collaborative blog post. He invites you to take your vacation days, too. If it helps you, it may help the company.
On our break, we met family friends (no photos here) and internet penpals I first met virtually on a social network. Turned strangers into friends.
Call it a social achievement through technology.
Now I am back to work with new understanding and refreshed enthusiasm for our company's role in society. How about your vacation?