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Do Us A Favor, Take A Vacation

Business begins to notice the perils for wired, overworked executives

Futurists in the 1970s predicted that by now technology would have so shrunk our workloads that we'd all be paddling about in a leisure-and-vacation playland.

How wrong were they? Vacation season is upon us, and a new survey by employment firm Hudson says more than half of American workers fail to take all their vacation days. Thirty percent say they use less than half their allotted time. And 20% take only a few days instead of a week or two. Among so-called extreme jobholders—what author Sylvia Ann Hewlett calls the professional class panjandrums—42% claim they have to cancel vacation plans "regularly." Americans take even less vacation than the Japanese, the people who gave rise to karoshi—the phenomenon of being worked to death.