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I'm my own worse source of stress
I have 100 hours of PTO that need to be used up by the end of the year, and that's just to ensure I don't lose any when they roll over 40 hours to next year. We are being gently reminded that PTO requests are not always going to be approved as we get to the end of the year - that's our busy-crazy-stressful time of the year.

So now I'm in a panic, trying to convince myself that it's OK to take a day off, it's OK to ask someone to handle my files or address client/carrier concerns. It's OK to miss a meeting, or just plain be out of office. And it's not too late, either.

I want to be clear that I do this to myself. I'm sure I wouldn't be missed by the vast majority of my coworkers if I was gone for a week. But I've bundled up some of my self-esteem into this job (a stupid move), and the thought of not being here feels like abandoning the good name I've built up.

Welcome to the mad scramblings of my brain, making monsters out of shadows.

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Hmmm. I only have 44 hours I still need to burn off, plus my 40 hours that I need to roll over so I'm sure to have enough time for my cruise in January. Guess I've been gone a lot more this year than I normally am.

I would miss you if you're gone for a week. But you should still take some time off!!! You deserve it! And they will survive without you.

I just have a tough time asking anyone to back me up. Something I have to get over if I'm going to survive in an environment like this.

Don't you back people up? I'm sure someone owes you.

I just got an email written in third person from someone at our own company. I'm not sure how to respond to this. must.contain.snark.

My mother has this problem sometimes. The thing about PTO is that it is paid. You have earned it. It's yours. Yes, when you take it matters, but you should, because you have legitimately acquired the right to it, and you deserve to take some time off. Yes, you do.

That's a hard leap for me to make... I feel like I have to humbly request time off and supplicant myself for a back-up. The idea that "I'm taking my PTO because I deserve it and my company just has to deal"... it's a weird one. Valid, but weird.

Your word choice makes it sound like you feel as though asking for time off is to some degree debasing, and I would encourage you to think of it as just requesting the disbursal of benefits you have stored up for yourself instead. You'd have to do the same if you went to the doctor's office or a car mechanic and had to file an insurance claim.

One way to think about this: people who actually take their vacation time are less likely to burn out. So, really, you're helping to build your name by giving yourself a rest-and-reward once in a while. :)

I know you're right on this. I can see the signs of built up stress in my body. Time off would be just one of many steps I should take to make me saner.

even if you take a few half days you can burn up some PTO and then you wouldn't feel as bad. You can get some stuff done and then take off early. or have a couple long weekends instead of a whole week off.

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