Workers say: vacation? What vacation?

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Ah, summer. I can practically taste the season of sangria and barbecue coming, what with the record rainfall and brisk temperatures in the Northeast. My summer will be spent tending to a newborn—who’ll be not the least colicky, I just know it—and traveling with her and her sister to my family’s home in Japan, where the party will be joined by my gravely ill mom and my senile old fart of a dad. Air conditioning? Who needs it in the land of hand-held fans? Comfort is for the weak. Ah, summer.

For more and more Americans, summer is merely the season in which to sweat on the way to the office. According to a just-released survey from, 15% gave up vaca days last year because they didn’t have time to take them. And going on holiday doesn’t mean freedom, exactly:

A quarter (25 percent) of workers, up from 20 percent in 2007, said they stay in contact with work while on vacation, and close to one in ten (9 percent) said their bosses expect them to be working or at least checking voicemail/e-mail while on vacation.

What will we do with what little time we do take? Here’s a sample from the survey:

• Traveling (36 percent)

• Visiting family and friends (24 percent)
• Resting (20 Percent)
• Catching up on housework (8 percent)
• Running errands (3 percent)

Resting? Catching up on housework? Running errands? This is what we’ve come to, friends. Tell me: what will you be doing on holiday this summer? Will you take any days at all? If so, are you sneaking your Blackberry into your beach tote?