A few weeks ago I had to do some quick PTO-calculus. Most people have done these calculations before, trying to figure out how to stretch vacation days throughout the year to maximize rejuvenating time away from the office.
This round of PTO-calculus found me trying to balance taking a week-long trip to Ecuador this coming November with the sudden news from Mr PoP that he wanted to extend our upcoming work trip to Hawaii by an extra week beyond what I was already counting on.
Sidenote – I realize that the ability I have to consider how to balance these two awesome trips is an absolute luxury. Please do not interpret this post as a humblebrag.
I had to decide on Hawaii and Ecuador pretty quickly, and was having some second thoughts on pre-committing so much PTO so early in the year. Since my employer officially combined sick days and vacation days into one bucket a couple of years ago, I am more cognizant than ever of not running down this balance to zero and leaving myself unable to take time off if not feeling well. What if I got horribly sick later this year and ran out of PTO before Ecuador!?!
But I had to decide quickly, so I consulted a couple of friends.
The first reassured me on the practicalities. “If you get sick, and run out of PTO, there’s always unpaid leave. Sure it sucks to forfeit pay, but it’s an option because you guys live well below your means.”
The second friend took a different tack. “You have been doing so much work on your house. You deserve to go and enjoy both Ecuador and Hawaii! I say go for it!”
By the time my second friend got back to me I had already decided and confirmed. (Ecuador and 2.5 weeks in Hawaii are both on, yay!) My decision lined up with my friend’s advice, and I let her know that I was excited to have both on the calendar for the year.
But my second friend’s comment didn’t sit well with me for some reason, and a couple weeks later I’m still having a bit of trouble figuring out exactly why.
Do I “Deserve” It?
As close as I can gather, I think it’s the word “deserve” that I found so uncomfortable in my friend’s comment.
I think I get what my friend meant. She sees us working really hard renovating the kitchen and feels like our efforts are worthy of a great reward. The trips would be a great reward for that hard work.
And I kindof get that… but I feel like the great reward for all of our hard work on our kitchen is going to be having a ridiculously awesome kitchen. I don’t feel any more worthy of taking a great vacation because I built some (IMHO, awesome) cabinets. If anything, all of the spending on the kitchen (though planned) was pretty indulgent since our kitchen was functional if not ideal before we started ripping it apart. Thus, my mind has a tough time seeing how treating myself to one indulgence makes me more deserving of another.
And There’s The Converse
I think what really bothers me about “deserving” a nice vacation, though, is the implications for the converse. If I “deserve” something good like a vacation, what negative experiences could I also be “deserving” of? If we had hired out more (or all) of the kitchen remodel, would I somehow be less deserving of a vacation to Ecuador?
Honestly, I’m not really sure why I seem to have this reaction to the word “deserve” (Mr PoP – my vote goes to Catholic guilt!), but it’s definitely there. Whenever someone says “you deserve it”, I get this weird feeling as though I’ve eaten something bad that isn’t entirely sitting well with me. But unlike accidentally eating chicken broth (very unpleasant for a this longtime vegetarian), a couple of shots of Pepto Bismol and a good night of sleep don’t seem to clear this feeling up.
Am I alone in this discomfort with “deserving”? Do you feel like you deserve specific experiences or items, either good or bad? Why or why not?