I had gone five years without taking a single vacation from work.
My company changed its policies right before I took my position and restricted paid time off to employees that had been with the company for five or more years.
Living paycheck to paycheck makes taking a holiday on my own dime completely out of the question. So by the time I was ready to request my first PTO vacation, I was brimming with excitement. One of my friends from college had talked to me at length regarding the two of us taking a cross-country road trip. We hadn’t seen each other in years and it was something we discussed doing in college at length a number of times. At last we had the money and the ability to take paid time off from our employers. He flew in from a few states north of my location, and we planned to take my old SUV for the trip. I thought the mechanic had checked everything in his inspection, but apparently he overlooked the air conditioner. We were on day three of our trip when the air conditioner suddenly quit working. Before I could sort my thoughts, I panicked. I started looking on my phone for nearby mechanics, deciding to stop early in Nashville instead of Memphis like we had hoped. Unfortunately, my air conditioner compressor was broken. I was hoping that it was simply low on coolant, because that’s a cheap and easy fix. Neither one of us had enough money for the repairs, so that meant taking the car the rest of the way without air conditioning. We still had a fun trip, but I’d be lying if I said we weren’t miserably hot the entire time after the air conditioner stopped working.