The first time many Americans travel abroad, they often meet Europeans taking luxurious 6 week holidays. It’s a mindboggling concept for Americans, who are lucky if we get 2 weeks of vacation per year for the first few years we work for a company. European working rules differ from those in the U.S., making six weeks of vacation annually not abnormal. Of course, it comes with a cost. The payscale in the U.S. tops that of most European nations.
So how much is extra vacation time worth?
It’s not likely that U.S. labor laws are going to resemble Europe’s anytime soon, especially considering the struggling Eurozone economy, but there are other ways to carve out time from your work schedule. One is to reduce your commute time.
Analysts at INRIX, a Kirkland, Washington based software company, found that many Americans routinely spend an extra work week or more stuck in traffic. Overall, the study found that traffic in the U.S. abated somewhat during the recession with higher fuel prices, increasing interest in telecommuting, and less workers heading to work.
Regardless, residents of Honolulu spend 58 hours per year sitting still on the H1, H2, and H3 highways in Hawai’i. Honolulu was followed closely by New York and Los Angeles, where residents can expect to sit in their car and watch pedestrians walk past them on the sidewalk for 57 and 56 hours per year, respectively.
Note that this does not include the time spent actually driving. This is simply the amount of time in stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper, oh-my-dear-god-will-someone-please-move-before-I-scream traffic.
It might be worth including this in the calculations of the next job that’s offered to you. How much is an extra week and a half of vacation worth, after all?
Photo courtesy of Errin Wessels on Flickr Creative Commons