Thanks photosteve101 @flickr

I Just Lost $7,889

Thanks photosteve101 @flickr yeah, about that nearly $8000 that I recently lost.  Well, I guess you can’t really say that I lost it because it was technically taken from me by my employer. Wait, that’s not exactly correct either.  My employer would have been happy to keep showing how much vacation I had accrued but our new auditor this year decided to make us compliant.  Hey, that’s what auditors are for, right?   I work for a non-profit agency and we pay our auditors good money every single year to complete our yearly income taxes and ensure fraud is not being committed.

We have three versions of the employee manual at my job.  The first one is the original, and several people are grandfathered into that plan.  They are allowed to keep any vacation time they accrue, no matter how much it is.   As for getting paid, no one expects that to happen since the agency is always struggling to make payroll so if one of those employees on the original plan retired it’s not like we could cough up $75,000 all at once.  They also have life insurance and I have no idea what they get but the monthly amount they have to pay in is less than $5 each.

The second plan also allows employees to accrue and keep all the vacation time, but no life insurance.

I was hired just after the third version was placed in effect.  The manual was revised because the board of directors was getting concerned with the large amounts of accrued vacation money owed to several employees (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars).  As a result, the third version allows us to accrue 40 hours, period.

But in the decade I’ve been there, no one has ever enforced this rule.  The person who is in charge of the accrued vacation has allowed people to keep their vacation, and every year we get a little note that indicates how many hours of vacation time we have accrued.

There are several of us on the third revision who had accrued several hundred hours of vacation time.

It’s not for lack of wanting to take vacation.  Most of us are burned out and overworked.  One of the main problems is that over the past ten years, practically every other position that was vacated, was left vacant.  Instead of filling the position, we were expected to juggle and reshuffle our priorities to take on the tasks of the person who had moved on.  I could fill a wall with hats for all the different jobs I’ve undertaken over the years.  For example, when my supervisor moved on to greener pastures, his actual title position was taken over by someone in the agency, but all the other “hats” and duties were simply dropped.  This other person, who works in the field most of the time, apparently was unaware of the extraneous duties carried on, one of those responsibilities being to purchase items.  That was shifted over to me.

In addition… we are all given fairly large amounts of vacation time each year.  I am awarded 5 weeks vacation each year, in addition to being paid for 8 holidays, 10 days sick leave, 1 personal day and 1 day for medical appointments.  They are extremely generous, but I am so swamped that I cannot afford to take a sick day, let alone a vacation day.  No one knows how to do my job, and there is no one to learn how to do my job.  If I take a day off, I’m now another day behind.  I can’t figure out how to get caught up.  It creates a great deal of stress rushing around each day putting out fires.

It’s too bad we can’t just take the vacation time in money.  I could definitely use $8000 right about now. Really, who couldn’t use $8000?

Have you ever lost vacation time because you were unable to take it?




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7 thoughts on “I Just Lost $7,889

  1. I’ve rarely bought into the ‘I’m too busy to take vacation’. If an employer is wiling to give me the time, it’s part of my compensation just as much so as the paychecks they provide. Nobody would ever refuse a paycheck, so why would you refuse other compensation? If the work piles up while you’re gone and your manager berates you for being behind and actually suggests that you should take the time, then chances are the environment isn’t a great one anyways. And, a company and manager with any common sense is going to see the other side of it: If you’re that busy and if the work does pile up that much, then pissing you off to where you leave is not in their overall best interest.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    So I’m not really quite sure how to respond here. I acknowledge that it’s my own fault because I take on too much. I guess that is one of my personality flaws in that I want to be helpful. It is really stressful for me to never be able to get caught up, so taking a day off causes me to feel a lot of stress because I know I am now going to be one more day further behind. Thanks for commenting.


  2. This is all too common in nonprofit, having been there myself!

    I agree with the above comment. No one is too busy to take some time off. I say that with full understanding of where you’re coming from. If jobs are simply being shifted and repositioned onto the remaining employees, then you guys desperately need strategic planning. I suspect one already knows the answer to this…but, where is the board during this whole issue? Why aren’t they filling in or figuring out how to appropriately replace the jobs instead of overstressing the remaining employees?


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Thanks for acknowledging that this is common in non-profits. I don’t think the board has any inkling… for that matter, I don’t think the CEO realizes… he just expects that everyone will do their job and pitch in to get everything done. As I mentioned in my reply to Money Beagle, I have a hard time relaxing when taking a day off, knowing that it’s making me that much farther behind. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


  3. Been there and done that. I decided to never do it again. You need time to regroup and keep your sanity. I always said that no one else could do my job and indeed when I took a day off they would call/e-mail relentlessly. But I decided that if I stepped off a curb and was killed tomorrow, they would have to figure it out.

    When I quit three months ago they panicked but guess what, they’re struggling through doing my work now. True, they call me all the time, but I choose to not answer. Figure it out.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    I agree. I sure do need some time to regroup. I think because I work only four days a week it is thought that I’m not working THAT hard since I get a three day weekend. Little do they know I’ve got other side gigs on those days. I really do need a vacation! I can’t imagine ever quitting my job, but I sure wish I could. 🙂 One thing I find frustrating is I’ve made documentation of many of my tasks but when I hand them over to another person they don’t even bother to read the documentation and keep making stupid mistakes that they wouldn’t have made, had they only bothered to read how to do the task in the first place. Thanks for visiting and commenting!


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