I was alerted to a piece at Slashdot via Ferdinand Bardamu on Americans’ alleged fear of taking vacations lest they be fired or otherwise punished by their employers. Now Ferdinand is highly critical of what he calls “LIE-bertarianism” and its rosy view of creative destruction and labor market flexibility, which is probably why he neglected to notice that the Live Science article Slashdot references doesn’t actually back up its claim that workers are “afraid” of anything. Apparently the panoply of experts cited just infer that workers are terrified of taking vacation time because they don’t take it, at least to the extent they can. And when they do, they take their work with them.

The closest it comes is this:

…research shows employees who admitted to being insecure in their jobs were more likely to attend work while sick – making them present in body but not in spirit.

That’s nothing to sneeze at, so to speak, but it hardly means the feeling of insecurity is the fault of jagoff bosses who’d rather their underlings come in sick than stay at home all unproductive and sniffling. The last time I had an office job I was strongly encouraged to stay home if sick. Nobody wants my flu.

Americans report higher job satisfaction than their European counterparts, maybe due to the ease of exiting jobs you dislike for greener pastures. In that case it could just be Americans’ actual enthusiasm for the work they do. Hence fewer vacation days and “workaholism.” The recession (are we technically still in one?) is definitely freaking people out, and Americans may now be characterized by a fear of being let go from their jobs if they dare use any vacation days, but the above article doesn’t do much to support that idea.