What’s the Best Way to Get Promoted? Take a Vacation!

When you google “how to get promoted,” a pattern of results emerges. Get a lot done, be a good team player, and show a positive attitude are all popular pieces of advice. Few, if any, articles encourage workers to take time off, but the stats show that workers who take vacations are more likely to be promoted than their perpetually present coworkers. That’s because the benefits of travel far outweigh what an extra hour at the office can provide.

It’s no secret that Americans are taking fewer and fewer vacation days each year. Why do we do this? Maybe we think sticking around and working harder will show initiative and get us a raise or promotion. Or perhaps we think we have too much work to leave and, of course, if we don’t get it done we aren’t getting to the next level. The reality is, workers who take more than 10 days of vacation have a 65.4% chance of being promoted, while workers taking fewer days only have a 34.6% chance.1

If workers taking vacations are almost twice as likely to be promoted, why aren’t you packing your bags yet? Sure, showing dedication to your company is important, but so is showing a dedication to your own health and happiness. And in fact, every attribute of a good worker that leads to a promotion can be achieved by taking a vacation.
Be a Go-Getter
Employers want employees who can get things done accurately and in a timely manner. Working non-stop will not increase your productivity. Burnout from overwork leads to apathy for your work, disassociation from the company, and increased absenteeism. A restful vacation will help avoid burnout and productivity will increase when you return. When deciding who to promote, your bosses will be looking at the quality and volume of your work, not how many vacation days you took. And if they do look at vacation days, they will be pleasantly surprised to see that you can do as much or more than other employees who haven’t taken a break. This speaks highly to your productivity.
Have a Positive Attitude
Employers want managers and bosses with positive attitudes. It won’t get you promoted if you’re moping around the office all day complaining about the hard work you’re putting in. Work isn’t just about completing your own tasks; it is also about inspiring others. Positivity is a much better inspiration and motivator than unhappiness. When workers get burnt out, their attitudes will change and they may exhibit signs of depression, indifference, or even aggression. Vacations are a time to recharge and fill up your happiness bank so you can sustain your positive attitude when you return.
Be a Team Player
Workers have been taking fewer and fewer vacation days in the past decade and one contributing factor is workplace guilt. If part of the reason you don’t want to leave is that you have too much work and don’t want to saddle your coworkers with it, great! As a good leader, you need to show collaboration and delegation. Arranging for your coworkers to fill in the gaps while you’re gone also shows a level of trust in your fellow employees which increases your bond with the team. On the flip side, if your coworkers can’t handle your work during your vacation, it could just show upper management how indispensable you really are.
Exhibit Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence in the business world is characterized by an ability to stay calm under pressure, to empathize with others, to make thoughtful decisions, and to listen more than you talk. These are all skills you can learn or enhance with a well-planned vacation. Dealing with the last-minute changes and obstacles of traveling can teach you to keep a cool head under pressure. Travel also connects you to others on a deeper level and allows you to absorb and appreciate what’s around you. Showing management that you are worldly and value self-betterment can put you ahead of the pack for the next promotion.
Have “Soft” Skills
The specific skills necessary to complete your job are often learned through on-the-job training or prior education and certification classes. Soft skills, on the other hand, are things like communication, negotiation, and other interpersonal skills. Traveling to countries that speak a foreign language enhances your ability to communicate effectively and creatively. The more and diverse people you meet and interact with, the more likely you are to be a good listener, pick up on social cues, and avoid or resolve conflicts. These “people skills” can’t be taught or measured, but management will take notice of them the next time they’re looking to promote someone.
Aim for Personal Growth
Employers aren’t going to promote someone who shows no aspirations of leadership or a higher position. By growing on a personal level, you are showing that you have goals and aspirations beyond your current position and can adapt, change, and put in the hard work to become a leader. Traveling expands your worldview and increases problem-solving abilities. It can also shine a light on your benefits and your flaws, allowing you to grow what is good and fix what is not.

In a culture that values hard work and dedication, it may be difficult to see how taking a vacation can lead to a promotion, but the statistics don’t lie. Don’t let work get in the way of your future career success. Taking a vacation can highlight your productivity, help develop soft skills and emotional intelligence, and result in personal growth–all of which can lead to a promotion.