There are places like Netflix that allow their employees (within reason) to take as many vacation days as they please, as long as their work gets done (extraordinarily well I should add). Unfortunately for the rest of us, significantly un-extraordinary folks, our jobs have extremely specific dates and times we are allowed to take off, and more often than not, those days aren’t that many. But, if you long for more holidays let’s see what the longest vacation you can take is.
Ok, so this is a completely unofficial, unsanctioned vacation but that’s the format of this article after all. A Spanish man by the name of Joaquín García was an employee of Cadiz’s water management board. He started working there back in 1996 where his responsibilities involved overlooking the waste water treatment plant. The plant must have worked so successfully that it was almost as if he wasn’t need, so he did what any logical person would do and just stopped going to work. Without telling anyone. For six whole years (even though some speculate it could’ve have even been 14).
García would probably have even retired in absentee, but the mayor who hired him wanted to give him an award for his many years of service. I know it sounds like the plot of a Bill Murray comedy, but I swear this actually happened. After asking around for a bit, the mayor went to the water plant’s manager looking for García, who happened to have an office opposite of him. The manager responded that he hadn’t seen his employee for years…yes, years. Eventually the 69-year-old was taken to court and asked to pay a year’s worth of salary to the city. Which honestly isn’t that bad of a deal for six years’ worth of vacation (but is it a vacation if you never show up to work?).
Two hard working New York young professionals, Emily, an advertising director, and her husband Grant, a creative director, decided they needed a long break from the big apple. Of course, New York is the place everyone wants to be, there are opportunities out the wazoo, the money is phenomenal and so are the benefits. It’s also crowded, hectic and expensive. The tipping point for the couple was one day after getting home from work, they went up to their apartment to find it ransacked.
From there they decided to save as much money as they could and migrate to the sunny west coast. It was a notion they had a long time coming but due to being comfortably numb in their daily grind, they never went through with their “great escape”. This time, though, they managed to save forty thousand dollars, in three months, packed up and hit the road.
Of course, they had been training for this extreme form of mobility by spending years in the new economy, in which changing jobs frequently is the new norm. The years of stability being a relic of the past. In a weird way it’s the mobility of the new market that has also kept them financed during their travels. As Emily says in this Forbes article, their peers who they previously worked with are now in higher positions and they often ask to work with Emily and Grant because they are familiar with their work and trust them. Now they occasionally get paid as a wife-husband team to do freelance and contract work.
Also, the new economy offers yet another luxury that might have been an insurmountable obstacle in the past; a gap in your resume isn’t as stigmatized as it once was. This could be due to employers wanting people with much more diverse experiences, taking a page from the book on how to be creative by Steve Jobs or maybe it’s because it’s a much more prevalent phenomenon amongst millennials. Whatever the case, if you have sufficient experience an employment gap can actually help you get a job. Emily and Grant have been travelling ever since, always keeping a nest egg of $10,000 just in case they decide to settle down. But Emily and Grant aren’t that unique and many people have taken a similar course of action.
To Vietnam and beyond
Okay, that was unsuccessful play on the Buzz Lightyear "to infinity and beyond" do you know how hard it is to be original and funny? Well, something else that isn’t that original is the epiphany that came to Mark and Britnee Johnston after taking their first trip as a couple to Vietnam. They went back home and felt like their vacation just wasn’t long enough, to which the rest of the world responded: “Welcome to being an adult, embrace the suck”. But Britnee and Mark (sidenote: who the hell thought that spelling Britney as Britnee was a good idea?) refused to embrace the suck and decided to go on an indefinite vacation.
Mark quit his job (which he admitted was a dead-end, and he had considered dropping it before) and Britnee (goddamn it that spelling) said that she had always been career-focused and wished she had traveled and more in her 20s. Mark was admittedly more apprehensive about the prospect of adventure due to the cost, pondering if it would be wiser to use that money to make a down payment on a house. Almost like a page out of a self-help book while reading The New Road Trip Mixtape something clicked, and he was convinced. The couple embarked on their trip to South East Asia trip and never looked back.
Would you take an indefinite sabbatical? Let us know in comments section below.