Work Hard, Stay Free: Adventures in Sweden

Taylor Desseyn, Managing Director, Recruiting, Vaco Nashville, talks about the importance of embracing your PTO because your life outside of the office is just as crucial as your life in the office.

I recently heard the statistic that over half of Americans do not use the majority of their paid time off (PTO) days. Are they afraid they’re going to get behind or be penalized? Maybe they’re worried people will think they aren’t taking their job as seriously as they should? Whatever the reason, it shocked me that there are companies that make their employees feel any of those ways.

Even in my first days at Vaco, I knew that the team cared just as much about my personal well-being as they do about the quality of work that I produce. They understand that those two pieces go hand in hand. The above statistic made me even more thankful to work at Vaco because we fully embody the culture of “work hard, play hard” — or in Vaco’s words, “work hard, stay free.” Our company was founded to be a home where entrepreneurial spirits could gather and be free to manage their own desks without feeling chained to them. Because of this independence Vaco allows its employees, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to exotic destinations without the fears that many people face when taking PTO.

This past spring, my wife surprised me with a trip to Sweden — where we had been dreaming about visiting one of the top restaurants in the world, Fäviken. Foodies and Netflix lovers alike may know that Fäviken has been featured on the Netflix TV show, Chef’s Table. The head chef of the restaurant, Magnus Nilsson, created a restaurant in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. By middle of nowhere, I mean my wife and I had to drive seven hours through the backwoods of Sweden from Stockholm, and somehow, this man has earned his restaurant two Michelin Stars. After a 32-course meal consisting of everything from fresh crab and scallops to quail eggs cooked in something mysterious, it wasn’t hard to see how Nilsson had accomplished his prestige.

After finishing the most interesting meal I’d ever eaten, we traveled all over Sweden, hitting Stockholm, Uppsala, Hudiksvall, and Sundsvall. From the people we met to the breathtaking beauty of the country, this trip was truly one to remember, and it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t work for a culture-driven company like Vaco. Vaco breaks the desk chains by encouraging us to live our best lives both in and out of the office, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.

Photos by Jackie Osborne