“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.”
– Earl Wilson
“Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.”
It has become traditional that people employed in companies/institutions doing their respective jobs and responsibilities in the office or out in the field at least forty hours a week are given time to relax and recreate at least some days (that might even extend to a month or two) within a year. Even students in schools of all levels are entitled to this provision of vacation holidays. In industrialized societies, this matter is something legislated and has to be provided by legitimate companies/institutions as a benefit for employees. Vacation has been established as an important mechanism within the general corporate system operational in an industrial social landscape. Basically, it is viewed as something necessary.
Vacation holidays may be spent in a variety of ways. People may go out of town to the countryside to savor the ambience of rural life which of course is not a common thing for them while busy in their city jobs. The more adventurous ones would even go camping for several days up in forest mountains and re-establish their so-called affinity with Mother Nature. The wide expanse of beaches either along the mainland shorelines or on exotic islands are inviting magnetic fields for sea lovers overwhelmed by tremendous exhilaration while being embraced by chains of aggressive waves or enthralled by the magical spell of the sea breeze while watching in reverie the majestic sunset. None beats human creativity to think of the best way one would want to make her/his vacation holidays most exciting and memorable–but of course, within the limits of her/his logistics, so to speak.
In affluent societies, vacation holidays are generally enjoyed by those corporately employed, both white-collar and blue-collar varieties. These are societies where the gap between the middle class and the proletarian class is narrow. In such societies, labor exploitation of the latter class is nil and the dignity of the workers’ humanity in the workplace is well-respected, duly appreciated and properly remunerated. These are societies where job skills and professional expertise are genuinely acknowledged and accordingly paid. So that in this particular context, those who are so-called administrative and management executives on top of the corporate ladder do not have the illusion that they are way more important than those under them. In fact, in many instances, they treat each other as equals and ignore in the process their nominal titles.
However, there are also less affluent societies where the gap between the more and the less economically well-off is wide. This context presents a less rosy condition of the working class where exploitation and oppression are a reality in the workplace: industrial workers being forced to work beyond the legally prescribed hours while being paid off-the-scale wages besides the fact that no fringe and welfare benefits are extended to them. In this situation, it is already a given that vacation holiday is not only an impossible provision but an alien concept to them. Only the well-paid and the more powerful at the top echelon of the corporate hierarchy in these societies are said to be the more privileged ones entitled to enjoy vacation holidays.
Vacation holiday, being a particularly modern phenomenon in a distinctively industrialized civilization, was non-existent in the preceding agricultural era. Such a reality may still be true even to farmers, agricultural workers and peasants of the present modern era who most likely do not have the concept of vacation holiday operative in their minds. Night respite in the comfort of a poor man’s cottage is the more realistic event in a farmer’s life. Farm work is a regular daytime responsibility and the approaching dusk signals the beginning of a much needed rest until the first glimmer of the sun’s ray appears on the horizon to start once more another busy day on the farm.
In an industrial setting, vacation holidays are not only viewed as a reward but more as a sought-after necessity that ought to be granted to the exhausted corporate workers after months of hustling and bustling over boring routinary chores either in the comfort of an air-conditioned office or in the discomforting heat of a manufacturing plant. In an agricultural setting, though, vacation holidays are no big deal if not considered as an absolutely negligible matter at all.
(c) Ruel F. Pepa 23 July 2014.