YES<br /><strong>JEREMY HAZLEHURST</strong><br /><br />FIRST, a simple fact: there is more to life than work. Really, that’s all you need to know. It follows that, if you can, you ought to take as long as possible eating pasties, hang-gliding, sunbathing or just drinking, whatever is your preferred non-work activity.<br /><br />It is all too easy to convince yourself that you ought to chain yourself to your desk in summer, especially this summer when all around you are losing their heads and gaining P45s. The argument appears to be that if you ever step out of the office for more than 20 minutes, then your boss will decide that you are expendable, useless and, by the time you get back to work, clutching a Pret baguette, an 18-year-old will be sitting at your desk and doing your work at half the price.<br /><br />That is just blatant paranoia. If you still have your job then there is little chance that you are dead wood. Face it. I know that it has been a bloodbath for the past year, but the chances are that you can stop glancing nervously at the life-boats now. Nobody is out to destroy you. Take a deep breath and relax.<br /><br />I could argue that it is important to make a swaggering statement of confidence, to swank into your boss’s office and request an absurdly huge amount of holiday in an attempt to convince your superiors that if you think you are that good, then you must be that good. But we are not in a Michael Douglas film.<br /><br />No. The truth is that work eats into enough of your life and that it is time to start getting some of it back. Do not feel guilty. Do not get worried. Reading emails and looking at PowerPoint presentations is not life, it is the stuff that comes in between life. So take three weeks, head somewhere hot and – as they say on the 422 bus – chillax.<br /><br />NO<br /><strong>ZOE STRIMPEL</strong><br /><br />THE world has been through economic hell since last summer. The work-holiday relationship has changed forever and, as much as I hate to say it, I hope you took your three weeks last summer because it’s the last time for a while you’ll be able to enjoy that privilege.<br /><br />I say enjoy. I don’t mean “have”. That is, you can probably still take your stipulated holiday time if you’re lucky enough to have kept your job. But you won’t be able to enjoy it, because you’ll have a lingering sense that this is not the time to be relaxing by the pool when there’s a possibility that your job won’t be waiting for you when you return.<br /><br />We have entered the era of the mini or one-week holiday, booked last minute to coincide with lighter workloads. Swanning off to your three week lounge-fest in a Tuscan villa that you booked six months ago just won’t cut it anymore, what with colleagues getting the chop left, right and centre. Not to mention the fact that there are fewer people around to cover for you when you’re gone, so your absence will be felt and resented more than usual. When you return, a hellish amount of work will have accumulated, and you’ll be held up sorting it out.<br /><br /><strong>SNOOZE AND LOSE</strong><br />The working world is changing so fast you need to be there to keep your eye on the ball. Not only is your presence necessary so that you can be the first to react to new issues – whether in human resources or in the work itself – but this is also very much a time of “you snooze, you lose.” Insisting on your three week summer holiday (many Americans take no more than two weeks in a year) can only put you in a precarious position. Sure, you can take your holiday – it’s in your contract. But you could also choose not to. Which act will serve you better?<br /><br />You know the answer.