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Those who take all their PTO are more likely to get promoted

Don’t leave any time off and you’re more likely to get promoted, a study finds.
Those who take all their PTO are more likely to get promoted
Photo by Yasmine Duchesne / Unsplash

Sustain issue #54 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

I have too much work. I can’t take time off. Does that sound like you? Be honest. You don’t have to tell anybody.

If you’re like the large majority of American workers living in a society of hustle culture, that’s probably been you at least at some point. I know it has been me.

In a world where work is infinite, rest is perceived as lazy. In a world where staffing is already thin, taking time off can feel like a hill to climb. Not just a hill, but a whole Mt. Everest. When time off is viewed of that way, it’s likely to be left on the table. And that’s exactly what happens.

In fact, Americans take less vacation time today than any time in the last four decades. Salaried employees work extra hours they are not paid for and leave time to live for later while tackling one more unimportant project.

PTO is good for business

To grab a handful of happiness and to be a better employee, time off is essential. That’s not an altruistic statement to make.

Those who use all their allotted time off are 6.5% more likely to earn a promotion or raise than those who left 11 or more PTO days unused, according to research by Project: Time Off.

I’ll repeat: Those who use all their time off are more likely to get promoted.  

This may feel counterintuitive to everything a culture of overwork and hustle has taught you. But it makes perfect sense. If you give your body time to breathe and really disconnect, it powers a whole slew of positive benefits compared to powering through. Work diminishes in quality the longer you go without time off. And you open yourself up to burnout.

Related: Here’s my six-step playbook for taking PTO completely disconnected from work

As my favorite saying goes: You must withdraw in order to make a better jump. If you jump day after day, you’re going to get tired, you’ll travel less distance with every jump, and open yourself up to injury.

But if you rest up, that jump will carry you further – with more ease and grace. And that’s good for you and good for your company.


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to eliminate burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it even though I never found a playbook for doing so. So, I'm writing it myself.

✉️ Want my top tips? I share my full step-by-step playbook in How I Quit Burnout, my premium newsletter. Get the next one delivered straight to your inbox >

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