By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

A new survey from Spherion Staffing reports that 41 percent of respondents would choose more vacation time over a pay raise if given the choice. Spherion says that this gives employers a perk to offer if raising pay is not an option.

Of course, we have the option to look at the other side of this survey finding: If 41% would like more time off, 59% must want more money, right?

While the survey says that the responses are “weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income to represent the target population,” I can’t help but wonder if there was a focus on full-time workers who are making enough money to even consider this money/time trade-off. Many people aren’t working as much as they need to be, so they want more money AND more hours at work to make ends meet.

Spherion also surveyed employers. One of the interesting stats: 70% of workers consider paid vacation time a “right of employment” while only 58% of employers agree. I’m surprised that the numbers are even that close.

As someone who has been an entrepreneur for 20 years now, I think the work world would be better if everyone had to be self-employed for some period of time, to truly understand that money does not make itself. Vacations are a luxury based on having made enough money during the times you are actually working — there is no “right” to vacation time unless you can afford it.

Obviously things work differently when you are giving your hours to an employer and contributing to a successful enterprise. And it is hard to put a monetary value on everyone’s contribution — your salary or hourly wage is just the estimate of your value in pure dollars. But before you think a paid vacation is a “right”, ask yourself whether your personal work has contributed as much or more than you are getting back from the company in hard dollars. If it is, that vacation may be a “right” for you, but maybe it is not a “right” for other people within the same company. Of course, deciding who “deserves” a vacation would most definitely cause a worker revolt 🙂

If you don’t get the amount of time off that you think you’ve earned, your best bet is to have a track record of success that allows you to consider alternate employers who will value you more highly. The more skills you have, the more value you offer, the more options you’ll get — including the time off you need to enjoy life outside of your job.

End of rant. You never know when a survey will get you up on your soapbox 🙂