New York Times:

Somewhere on a faraway beach, a cellphone rings, a BlackBerry buzzes, a laptop beeps.

It is an electronic requiem for the American vacation.

“I never go on vacation,â€? said Ellen Kapit, a real estate agent in Manhattan. “And when I do, I have my computer, my Palm, my e-mail and my phone with me at all times.â€?

Ms. Kapit’s habits are typical of today’s employees, who check for e-mail messages from work in between parasailing or floating in the hotel pool, consider a long weekend a major excursion and sacrifice vacation days by not taking them.

Ambition, fear of being fired, feeling indispensable and self-imposed getaway guilt all help to explain why workers do not use all of their vacation days and why many prefer to take respites that are shorter than two weeks, even if they have banked significantly more vacation time.

Photo by Kirk Condyles.