The French have no freakin' idea how good they have it, according to a new study.
The study on vacations practices around the world, which was conducted by Harris Interactive for the popular travel site Expedia.com, found that even though the French take more vacation than any other surveyed country, roughly 90 percent of them feel “vacation deprived.”
To be exact, the typical French person uses all 30 -- yes, three-zero -- of the vacation days he or she is offered and still isn’t happy about life.
Step back to the regional level, and Europe still takes the vacation cake. On the whole Europeans use more vacation days than anyone else while also feeling the most vacation deprived.
It’s understandable if you can feel your blood slowly coming to a full boil. The typical American (i.e. you) only took 10 of the 14 vacation days he or she was allowed last year -- that's one-third of the time our deprived French neighbors got. Add it all up, and the U.S. let 577,212,000 vacation days go unused.
To answer your inevitable question of “WHY!?!?!?” we can point to two distinct issues. One is legislative: The U.S., because of freedom or something, has yet to mandate that Americans workers receive paid vacation:
The second issue surrounds why exactly Americans are leaving vacation days on the table. Part of this might be part of what Mother Jones in 2011 labeled “The Great Speedup,” or that creeping pressure you feel to work just a little harder to impress the boss, get that promotion, pull yourself up or, in many cases, just keep yourself afloat in an ultra-competitive labor market. (Note: This is often referred to as a “productivity increase.”)
Whatever it is, we can all agree that France needs to look West and stop complaining.